Context British Thyroid Association (BTA), American Thyroid Association (ATA), and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE/ACE/AME) recommend for thyroid nodules an ultrasound (US)-based stratification of risk of malignancy. Aim of our study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of US classification systems and their reliability for indication to fine-needle aspiration (FNA). Design Prospective study on 987 thyroid nodules consecutively referred for FNA. US images were independently reviewed by four experts for assignment of malignancy risk. Cytologically benign nodules had confirmation with a second FNA, whereas Bethesda class IV, V, and VI nodules were operated upon. Class III nodules had surgery or follow-up on the basis of clinical, immunocytochemical, and US features. Results BTA: Malignancy rate was 2.8% in benign, 10.0% in indeterminate, 51.3% in suspicion, and 80.9% in malignant US class. Sensitivity was 0.74, specificity was 0.92, and accuracy was 0.89. ATA: Malignancy rate was 0.0% in benign, 2.2% in very low suspicion, 3.0% in low suspicion, 5.8% in intermediate, and 55.0% in high suspicion US class. Sensitivity was 0.81, specificity was 0.87, and accuracy was 0.86. AACE/ACE/AME: Malignancy rate was 1.1% in low-risk, 4.4% in intermediate-risk, and 54.9% in high-risk US class. Sensitivity was 0.82, specificity was 0.87, and accuracy was 0.86. K correlation coefficient was 78.9%, 76.9%, and 82.0% for BTA, ATA, and AACE/ACE/AME classifications. Conclusions Classification systems had elevated predictive value of malignancy in high-risk classes. ATA and AACE/ACE/AME systems were effective for ruling out indication to FNA in low-US-risk nodules. A similar diagnostic accuracy and a substantial interobserver agreement was provided by the three- and the five-category classifications.
- Biochemistry (medical)
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism