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A core needle biopsy provides more malignancy-specific results than fine-needle aspiration biopsy in thyroid nodules suspicious for malignancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1046-1050
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Background and aims: The most commonly used diagnostic method for the preoperative diagnosis of thyroid nodules is ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNA), which often yields non-diagnostic or non-definitive results and seldom produces definite malignant diagnoses. To improve upon the malignancy-specific sensitivity, we tested core needle biopsies (CNBs) of thyroid lesions taken from surgical specimens. Material and methods: 52 consecutive patients with malignant or malignant-suspicious thyroid nodules were referred to Tampere University Hospital between May 2010 and December 2011. Preoperative FNAs were categorised as follicular neoplasm (48%), suspicion for malignancy (46%) or malignancy (6%). Intraoperative FNA and CNB samples were acquired from surgical specimens removed during surgery. The results of the needle biopsies were compared with the final pathological diagnosis. Results: CNBs had a high definitive sensitivity for malignancy (61%, CI 41% to 78%) whereas the definitive sensitivity for malignancy of FNAs was significantly lower (22%, CI 10% to 42%). CNB was not bene ficial in the diagnosis of follicular thyroid lesions. When all suspected follicular tumours were excluded, the definitive sensitivity of CNB rose to 70% (CI 48% to 86%). Conclusions: CNB may be beneficial for the diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma and other non-follicular thyroid lesions. CNB may be considered as an additional diagnostic procedure in cases with FNA suspicious for malignancy.