OBJECTIVE: To study the fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytologic features of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) with special reference to its tall cell variant (TCV), which is the most aggressive of the variants. STUDY DESIGN: Fifty-four PTC cases were classified into variants, and the frequency of well-known morphologic criteria was determined. Four parameters were quantitatively analyzed based on a study of 200 consecutive neoplastic follicular cells: shape of cells, color of cytoplasm, intranuclear cytoplasmic inclusion (INCI) and nuclear grooves. RESULTS: The PTC cases included 6 TCV (≥30% tall cells), 8 cases with a significant tall cell component (sig. TCC) having 10-29% tall cells, 17 usual variant (UV), 17 follicular variant (FV) and 6 miscellaneous variants. TCV differed significantly from UV and-FV in having a higher tall cell count, higher count of cells with reddish cytoplasm and INCI, and higher frequency of cases with lymphocytic infiltration. PTC (with significant tall cell component [TCC]) differed significantly from TCV with regard to tall cell count and lymphocytic infiltration, from UV with respect to tall cell count and monolayered sheets, and from FV with respect to tall cells, INCI, grooved nuclei, acinar formation, fire-flare appearance and giant cells. CONCLUSION: TCV was cytologically distinct from other variants. The biologic behavior of PTC cases with significant TCC, which morphologically seem to be a group intermediate between TCV on the one hand and UV and FV on the other, however, needs to be carefully monitored.
- Aspiration biopsy
- Carcinoma, papillary
- Papillary thyroid carcinoma, tall cell variant
- Thyroid cancer