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Thyroid ultrasound features and risk of carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.

Remonti LR, Kramer CK, Leitão CB, Pinto LC, Gross JL - Thyroid (2015)

Bottom Line: Some US parameters have been associated with increased risk of malignancy.In unselected nodules, all US features were significantly associated with malignancy with an odds ratio varying from 1.78 to 35.7, and microcalcifications, irregular margins, and a taller than wide shape had high specificities (Sp; 87.8%, 83.1%, 96.6%) and positive likelihood ratios (LHR; 3.26, 2.99, 8.07).US features in isolation do not provide reliable information to select nodules that should have a FNA performed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1 Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre , Porto Alegre, Brazil .

ABSTRACT

Background: Thyroid nodules are a common finding in the general population, and their detection is increasing with the widespread use of ultrasound (US). Thyroid cancer is found in 5-15% of cases depending on sex, age, and exposure to other risk factors. Some US parameters have been associated with increased risk of malignancy. However, no characteristic seems sufficiently reliable in isolation to diagnose malignancy. The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of US features for thyroid malignancy in patients with unselected thyroid nodules and nodules with indeterminate fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology.

Methods: Electronic databases were reviewed for studies published prior to July 2012 that evaluated US features of thyroid nodules and reported postoperative histopathologic diagnosis. A manual search of references of review and key articles, and previous meta-analyses was also performed. A separate meta-analysis was performed including only nodules with indeterminate cytology. Analyzed features were solid structure, hypoechogenicity, irregular margins, absence of halo, microcalcifications, central vascularization, solitary nodule, heterogeneity, taller than wide shape, and absence of elasticity.

Results: Fifty-two observational studies (12,786 nodules) were included. Nine studies included nodules with indeterminate cytology as a separate category, comprising 1851 nodules. In unselected nodules, all US features were significantly associated with malignancy with an odds ratio varying from 1.78 to 35.7, and microcalcifications, irregular margins, and a taller than wide shape had high specificities (Sp; 87.8%, 83.1%, 96.6%) and positive likelihood ratios (LHR; 3.26, 2.99, 8.07). Absence of elasticity was the single feature with the best diagnostic performance (sensitivity 87.9%, Sp 86.2%, and positive LHR 6.39). The presence of central vascularization was the most specific US feature in nodules with indeterminate cytology (Sp 96% and positive LHR 2.13).

Conclusions: US features in isolation do not provide reliable information to select nodules that should have a FNA performed. A combination of US characteristics with higher likelihood ratios and consequently with higher post-test probabilities of malignancy-microcalcifications, or a taller than wide shape, or irregular margins, or absence of elasticity-will probably identify nodules with an increased risk for malignancy. Further studies are required to standardize elastography techniques and evaluate outcomes, especially in nodules with an indeterminate cytology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Forest plot representing OR for malignancy of each US feature evaluated in nodules with indeterminate cytology.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection


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f3: Forest plot representing OR for malignancy of each US feature evaluated in nodules with indeterminate cytology.

Mentions: Only a few of the studies reported the histopathologic diagnosis specifically for nodules with an indeterminate cytology. Because of that, only the following features were analyzed: absence of halo, absence of elasticity, hypoechogenicity, solid structure, presence of microcalcifications, solitary nodule, irregular margins, and central vascularization. Of these, pooled diagnostic accuracy statistics could be calculated only for hypoechogenicity, central vascularization, and presence of microcalcifications because more than three studies are needed in order to perform a meta-analysis of a diagnostic test. Only the presence of microcalcifications was significantly associated with malignancy (Fig. 3). However, in this subgroup of nodules, any of the US features was not able to determinate the risk of malignancy with an acceptable sensitivity (Table 3). Presence of central vascularization was the feature with the best specificity (96%). The positive likelihood ratio ranged from 1.12 to 2.52, and the negative likelihood ratio from 0.66 to 0.95. Considering a pretest probability of 10%, the post-test probability of malignancy ranged from 11% to 21.8% after a positive test, and 6.8% to 9.5% with a negative test result.


Thyroid ultrasound features and risk of carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies.

Remonti LR, Kramer CK, Leitão CB, Pinto LC, Gross JL - Thyroid (2015)

Forest plot representing OR for malignancy of each US feature evaluated in nodules with indeterminate cytology.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4447137&req=5

f3: Forest plot representing OR for malignancy of each US feature evaluated in nodules with indeterminate cytology.
Mentions: Only a few of the studies reported the histopathologic diagnosis specifically for nodules with an indeterminate cytology. Because of that, only the following features were analyzed: absence of halo, absence of elasticity, hypoechogenicity, solid structure, presence of microcalcifications, solitary nodule, irregular margins, and central vascularization. Of these, pooled diagnostic accuracy statistics could be calculated only for hypoechogenicity, central vascularization, and presence of microcalcifications because more than three studies are needed in order to perform a meta-analysis of a diagnostic test. Only the presence of microcalcifications was significantly associated with malignancy (Fig. 3). However, in this subgroup of nodules, any of the US features was not able to determinate the risk of malignancy with an acceptable sensitivity (Table 3). Presence of central vascularization was the feature with the best specificity (96%). The positive likelihood ratio ranged from 1.12 to 2.52, and the negative likelihood ratio from 0.66 to 0.95. Considering a pretest probability of 10%, the post-test probability of malignancy ranged from 11% to 21.8% after a positive test, and 6.8% to 9.5% with a negative test result.

Bottom Line: Some US parameters have been associated with increased risk of malignancy.In unselected nodules, all US features were significantly associated with malignancy with an odds ratio varying from 1.78 to 35.7, and microcalcifications, irregular margins, and a taller than wide shape had high specificities (Sp; 87.8%, 83.1%, 96.6%) and positive likelihood ratios (LHR; 3.26, 2.99, 8.07).US features in isolation do not provide reliable information to select nodules that should have a FNA performed.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: 1 Division of Endocrinology, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre , Porto Alegre, Brazil .

ABSTRACT

Background: Thyroid nodules are a common finding in the general population, and their detection is increasing with the widespread use of ultrasound (US). Thyroid cancer is found in 5-15% of cases depending on sex, age, and exposure to other risk factors. Some US parameters have been associated with increased risk of malignancy. However, no characteristic seems sufficiently reliable in isolation to diagnose malignancy. The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of US features for thyroid malignancy in patients with unselected thyroid nodules and nodules with indeterminate fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology.

Methods: Electronic databases were reviewed for studies published prior to July 2012 that evaluated US features of thyroid nodules and reported postoperative histopathologic diagnosis. A manual search of references of review and key articles, and previous meta-analyses was also performed. A separate meta-analysis was performed including only nodules with indeterminate cytology. Analyzed features were solid structure, hypoechogenicity, irregular margins, absence of halo, microcalcifications, central vascularization, solitary nodule, heterogeneity, taller than wide shape, and absence of elasticity.

Results: Fifty-two observational studies (12,786 nodules) were included. Nine studies included nodules with indeterminate cytology as a separate category, comprising 1851 nodules. In unselected nodules, all US features were significantly associated with malignancy with an odds ratio varying from 1.78 to 35.7, and microcalcifications, irregular margins, and a taller than wide shape had high specificities (Sp; 87.8%, 83.1%, 96.6%) and positive likelihood ratios (LHR; 3.26, 2.99, 8.07). Absence of elasticity was the single feature with the best diagnostic performance (sensitivity 87.9%, Sp 86.2%, and positive LHR 6.39). The presence of central vascularization was the most specific US feature in nodules with indeterminate cytology (Sp 96% and positive LHR 2.13).

Conclusions: US features in isolation do not provide reliable information to select nodules that should have a FNA performed. A combination of US characteristics with higher likelihood ratios and consequently with higher post-test probabilities of malignancy-microcalcifications, or a taller than wide shape, or irregular margins, or absence of elasticity-will probably identify nodules with an increased risk for malignancy. Further studies are required to standardize elastography techniques and evaluate outcomes, especially in nodules with an indeterminate cytology.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus