Thyroid nodules with nondiagnostic cytologic results: Follow-up management using ultrasound patterns based on the 2015 American Thyroid Association Guidelines

Chae Jung Park, Eun Kyung Kim, Hee Jung Moon, Jung Hyun Yoon, Vivian Youngjean Park, Jin Young Kwak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the malignancy rate of nodules with nondiagnostic cytologic results based on the American Thyroid Association (ATA) ultrasound (US) patterns and to suggest management guidelines for these nodules. MATERIALS AND METHODS. From January 2013 to December 2014, 441 nodules (= 1 cm) were found in 437 patients with nondiagnostic results of ultrasound (US)-guided fne-needle aspiration biopsy (nondiagnostic nodules). A total of 191 nodules that were cytopathologically confrmed or were smaller (> 3 mm) at follow-up US were enrolled. The US fndings of each nodule were reviewed. One radiologist classifed the nodules into the following fve categories according to the 2015 ATA guidelines: high, intermediate, low, and very low suspicion for malignancy and benign. The reference standard was histopathologic confrmation. Nodules that were smaller at follow-up US were considered benign. The malignancy rate of each category was calculated. RESULTS. Among a total 191 nodules, 20 (10.5%) were malignant. Solid composition, marked hypoechogenicity, microlobulated or irregular margins, microcalcifcations, and taller-than-wide shape were more frequently seen in malignant nodules (all p < 0.001). The malignancy rate of nodules with very low suspicion of malignancy was 0% (0/58); low, 0% (0/45); intermediate, 10.3% (6/58); and high, 46.7% (14/30) (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION. When US fndings of thyroid nodules are assessed according to the 2015 ATA guidelines, nondiagnostic thyroid nodules with very-low-or low-suspicion US patterns can be followed up with US. Nondiagnostic nodules with intermediate or highly suspicious US patterns should be evaluated with repeat US-guided fne-needle aspiration biopsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-417
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this