MULTICENTER STUDY
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Serum thyrotropin concentration in children with isolated thyroid nodules.

Journal of Pediatrics 2013 November
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the correlation between serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration and nodule nature in pediatric patients with thyroid nodules, with the aim of identifying a marker able to differentiate benign and malignant nodules.

STUDY DESIGN: This was a retrospective analysis of serum TSH concentrations in a multicentric case series of 125 pediatric patients with benign and malignant thyroid nodules.

RESULTS: Of the 125 patients, 99 had benign thyroid nodules and 26 had differentiated thyroid cancer (24 papillary and 2 follicular). Final diagnosis was based on surgery in 57 cases and on a benign cytology plus clinical follow-up in 68 cases. Serum TSH concentration was significantly higher in patients with thyroid cancer compared with those with benign nodules (3.23 ± 1.59 mU/L vs 1.64 ± 0.99 mU/L; P < .001). Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that serum TSH was the sole predictor of malignancy (P < .001). Dividing the patient cohort into 5 groups based on serum TSH quintiles (TSH cutoffs 0.40, 1.00, 1.50, 1.80, and 2.80 mU/L), we observed that cancer prevalence increased in parallel with serum TSH (P < .001), with respective rates of 0%, 4%, 16%, 32%, and 52% in the 5 quintile groups.

CONCLUSION: Because cases with malignant nodules are most likely seen in the upper normal serum TSH range (ie, >2.8 mU/L), serum TSH concentration can serve as a predictor of thyroid cancer in pediatric patients with thyroid nodules and can inform the decision of when to submit patients to further investigation by cytology.

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