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      Adherence to Active Surveillance and Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Indeterminate Thyroid Nodules Not Referred for Thyroidectomy

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          Objective: Outcomes of patients with cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules not referred for thyroidectomy have hardly been investigated. We previously reported outcomes of 322 patients with thyroid nodules classified according to the Bethesda System of Reporting Thyroid Cytology (BSRTC) as indeterminate (B3/B4), of whom 123 (38.2%) underwent thyroidectomy. In the present extension study, we investigated adherence and outcomes in the remaining unoperated 199 patients. Methods: We conducted a file review of 189/199 patients with thyroid nodules cytologically diagnosed as B3 ( n = 174) or B4 ( n = 15) in 2011–2012 who were conservatively followed at our institution until 2019. Results: Among 174 patients with B3 nodules, 140 (80.4%) underwent repeated ultrasound. Nodular growth was detected in 23 (16.4%), and findings remained stable in 105 (75%). Fine-needle aspiration was repeated in 88/174 patients (50.6%), with B2 results in 62 (70.4%) and B3/B4/B5 in 20 (22.7%). Thyroidectomy was performed in 14/174 patients (8%) in the B3 and 5/15 patients (33%) in the B4 group at a median of 5 years’ follow-up; thyroid cancer was diagnosed in 4/14 patients (28.5%) and 3/5 patients (60%), respectively. For B3 patients who remained unoperated, none had evidence of thyroid cancer at last follow-up. A reason for avoiding surgery was documented in 6/10 unoperated B4 patients (1 thyroid lymphoma, 3 died of unrelated causes, 2 were considered inoperable due to advanced age). Conclusions: Most patients with initially unoperated B3/B4 nodules adhere, at least partially, to active surveillance. For B3 nodules, subsequent thyroidectomy and thyroid cancer detection are rare events, and patients may be safely managed without using molecular markers. Thyroid cancer is diagnosed in most B4 patients who undergo thyroidectomy in our institution.

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          Most cited references 25

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          The 2017 Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology.

          The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (TBSRTC) established a standardized, category-based reporting system for thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) specimens. The 2017 revision reaffirms that every thyroid FNA report should begin with one of six diagnostic categories, the names of which remain unchanged since they were first introduced: (i) nondiagnostic or unsatisfactory; (ii) benign; (iii) atypia of undetermined significance (AUS) or follicular lesion of undetermined significance (FLUS); (iv) follicular neoplasm or suspicious for a follicular neoplasm; (v) suspicious for malignancy; and (vi) malignant. There is a choice of two different names for some of the categories. A laboratory should choose the one it prefers and use it exclusively for that category. Synonymous terms (e.g., AUS and FLUS) should not be used to denote two distinct interpretations. Each category has an implied cancer risk that ranges from 0% to 3% for the "benign" category to virtually 100% for the "malignant" category, and, in the 2017 revision, the malignancy risks have been updated based on new (post 2010) data. As a function of their risk associations, each category is linked to updated, evidence-based clinical management recommendations. The recent reclassification of some thyroid neoplasms as noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP) has implications for the risk of malignancy, and this is accounted for with regard to diagnostic criteria and optional notes. Such notes can be useful in helping guide surgical management.
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            Analytical performance of the ThyroSeq v3 genomic classifier for cancer diagnosis in thyroid nodules.

            Molecular tests have clinical utility for thyroid nodules with indeterminate fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology, although their performance requires further improvement. This study evaluated the analytical performance of the newly created ThyroSeq v3 test.
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              NCCN Task Force report: Evaluating the clinical utility of tumor markers in oncology.

              The molecular analysis of biomarkers in oncology is rapidly advancing, but the incorporation of new molecular tests into clinical practice will require a greater understanding of the genetic changes that drive malignancy, the assays used to measure the resulting phenotypes and genotypes, and the regulatory processes that new molecular biomarkers must face to be accepted for clinical use. To address these issues and provide an overview of current molecular testing in 6 major malignancies, including glioma, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and acute myelogenous leukemia, an NCCN Task Force was convened on the topic of evaluating the clinical utility of tumor markers in oncology. The output of this meeting, contained within this report, describes the ways biomarkers have been developed and used; defines common terminology, including prognostic, predictive, and companion diagnostic markers, and analytic validity, clinical validity, and clinical utility; and proposes the use of a combination level of evidence score to aid in the evaluation of novel biomarker tests as they arise. The current state of regulatory oversight and anticipated changes in the regulation of molecular testing are also addressed.

                Author and article information

                European Thyroid Journal
                S. Karger AG
                April 2021
                06 August 2020
                : 10
                : 2
                : 168-173
                aEndocrine Institute, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Hospital, Petach Tikva, Israel
                bEndocrine Institute, Shamir Medical Center (Formerly Assaf Harofeh Medical Center), Beer Yaakov, Israel
                cSackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
                Author notes
                *Alexander Gorshtein, Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute, Rabin Medical Center, 39 Ze’ev Jabotinsky St., IL–49100 Petach Tikva (Israel), a_gorshtein@yahoo.com
                509037 Eur Thyroid J 2021;10:168–173
                © 2020 European Thyroid Association Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, Pages: 6
                Clinical Thyroidology / Research Article


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