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Heterogeneous echogenicity of the underlying thyroid parenchyma: how does this affect the analysis of a thyroid nodule?

 Mina Park  ;  So Hee Park  ;  Eun-Kyung Kim  ;  Jung Hyun Yoon  ;  Hee Jung Moon  ;  Hye Sun Lee  ;  Jin Young Kwak 
 BMC CANCER, Vol.13 : 550, 2013 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adult ; Biopsy, Fine-Needle ; Diagnosis, Differential ; Female ; Humans ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Retrospective Studies ; Sensitivity and Specificity ; Thyroid Gland/diagnostic imaging* ; Thyroid Gland/pathology* ; Thyroid Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging ; Thyroid Neoplasms/pathology ; Thyroid Nodule/diagnostic imaging* ; Thyroid Nodule/pathology* ; Ultrasonography
Ultrasonography ; Thyroid gland ; Diffuse thyroid disease ; Thyroid malignancy ; Thyroid nodule
Heterogeneous echogenicity of the thyroid gland has been associated with diffuse thyroid disease and benign and malignant nodules can coexist with diffuse thyroid disease. Underlying heterogeneous echogenicity might make it difficult to differentiate between benign and malignant nodules on US. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of underlying thyroid echogenicity on diagnosis of thyroid malignancies using US.
A total of 1,373 patients who underwent US-guided fine needle aspiration of 1,449 thyroid nodules from June 2009 to August 2009 were included. The diagnostic performance of US assessment for thyroid nodules was calculated and compared according to underlying thyroid echogenicity. The diagnostic performance of US assessments in the diagnosis of thyroid malignancy according to the underlying parenchymal echogenicity was compared using a logistic regression with the GEE (generalized estimating equation) method. Each US feature of malignant and benign thyroid nodules was analyzed according to underlying echogenicity to evaluate which feature affected the final diagnosis.
Among the 1,449 nodules, 325 (22.4%) were malignant and 1,124 (77.6%) were benign. Thyroid glands with heterogeneous echogenicity showed significantly lower specificity, PPV, and accuracy compared to thyroid glands with homogeneous echogenicity, 76.3% to 83.7%, 48.7% to 60.9%, and 77.6% to 84.4%, respectively (P=0.009, 0.02 and 0.005, respectively). In benign thyroid nodules, microlobulated or irregular margins were more frequently seen in thyroid glands with heterogeneous echogenicity than in those with homogenous echogenicity (P<0.001).
Heterogeneous echogenicity of the thyroid gland significantly lowers the specificity, PPV, and accuracy of US in the differentiation of thyroid nodules. Therefore, caution is required during evaluation of thyroid nodules detected in thyroid parenchyma showing heterogeneous echogenicity.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Radiology (영상의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Yonsei Biomedical Research Center (연세의생명연구원) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kwak, Jin Young(곽진영) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6212-1495
Kim, Eun-Kyung(김은경) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3368-5013
Moon, Hee Jung(문희정) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5643-5885
Park, Mina(박미나) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2005-7560
Park, So Hee(박소희)
Yoon, Jung Hyun(윤정현) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2100-3513
Lee, Hye Sun(이혜선) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6328-6948
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