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Risk Stratification in Multinodular Goiter: A Retrospective Review of Sonographic Features, Histopathological Results, and Cancer Risk.

PURPOSE: In the management of thyroid nodules, although the potential for malignancy exists, there is also the potential for overtreatment of subclinical disease. Although the TI-RADS (Thyroid Imaging-Reporting and Data System) system outlines a risk stratification score based on suspicious ultrasound findings, it has not been universally accepted. Many TI-RADS 2 or 3 patients proceed to fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB), potentially unnecessarily. The aim of the study was to identify whether lesions within a multinodular goiter (MNG) without suspicious features can be followed with ultrasound rather than biopsied as is recommended for single nodules.

METHODS: Pathology records were retrospectively analysed for proven MNGs over a 5-year period. A total of 293 cases were identified. FNAB, prebiopsy ultrasound images, and reports were identified for each case. Images were reviewed and assessed for sonographically suspicious criteria guided by TI-RADS. Logistic regression was applied to determine if any sonographic features were associated with neoplasia. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated.

RESULTS: Of 293 samples, 14 (4.7%) were neoplastic. Having no suspicious features conferred an average risk of 0.0339 (95% confidence interval: 0.02831-0.04087) of neoplasia. Risk of neoplasm significantly increased by having 1 and >1 suspicious feature (P < .001). Regarding cytological results, of 237 patients with Thy-2 cytology, 159 were followed up and 8 had a neoplasm.

CONCLUSION: Ultrasound can be used to estimate risk of neoplasia in MNG. In the absence of suspicious radiological findings, follow-up with ultrasound rather than FNAB may be appropriate in patients who have a low clinical suspicion for neoplasia.

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