Papillary thyroid carcinoma: How much should the surgeon read from Fine needle aspiration cytology reports

Dilip Das, Mehraj Sheikh, Mrinmay Mallik, Prem Sharma, Abul Mannan, Zafar Sheikh, Bahia Haji, Shirly George, John Madda, Sundus Hussein, Issam Francis

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Objective: During routine fine needle aspiration cytodiagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), a number of cases are diagnosed as suspicious; or it is suggested that PTC or a neoplasm be ruled out by histopathology. Since these diagnostic labels are likely to put the clinicians in a difficult situation while planning the management, this study aims to find out how much the surgeon should read from these reports. Materials and Methods: The patients were divided into two groups. Group A included 38 cases diagnosed as PTC or suspicious of PTC. Group B included 40 cases in which it was suggested that PTC/a neoplasm to be ruled out and non-neoplastic lesions with one or more cytologic features of PTC. The two groups were compared with clinical, imaging and cytomorphologic features. Results: A significant difference was observed with respect to age between Group A and Group B (P<0.001). The frequency of the following five cytologic features was significantly higher in Group A: papillary formation (P<0.001), psammoma bodies (P=0.054), fine nuclear chromatin (P=0.010), frequent nuclear grooves (P<0.001) and intra-nuclear cytoplasmic inclusion (P<0.001). Three or more of the five cytologic features were also reported in significantly higher number of Group A cases (P<0.001). Majority (81.8%) of the cases with subsequent histology in Group A were confirmed as PTC as opposed to 7.7% in Group B (P<0.001). Conclusions: Thus, cases with definitive cytodiagnosis of PTC and suggestive of PTC (Group A) should be taken much more seriously by the surgeons as compared to Group B cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-691
Number of pages6
JournalIndian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2010


  • Fine needle aspiration cytology
  • papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • solitary thyroid nodules


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