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Molecular testing for indeterminate thyroid nodules: Performance of the Afirma gene expression classifier and ThyroSeq panel

Rachel C Jug, Michael B Datto, Xiaoyin Sara Jiang
Cancer Cytopathology 2018 April 10

BACKGROUND: The ThyroSeq mutational panel and Afirma gene expression classifier (GEC) are used to risk stratify cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules. In the current study, the authors evaluated the performance of these tests within the context of ultrasonographic features and with the incorporation of the noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP) nomenclature.

METHODS: The authors reviewed nodules using ThyroSeq or Afirma GEC testing. For nodules that were surgically resected, both tests were studied within the context of ultrasound findings, comparing performance stratified by the 2015 American Thyroid Association guideline (ATA 2015) sonographic patterns and assessing the positive predictive value (PPV) of these tests both including and excluding NIFTP in the malignant category.

RESULTS: A total of 304 cases were identified, 119 of which were resected. All cases that met the criteria for NIFTP on excision demonstrated either high-risk mutations on ThyroSeq or a "suspicious" result on Afirma GEC. When NIFTP cases were shifted from the malignant to nonmalignant category, the PPV of "positive" tests for both ThyroSeq and Afirma GEC decreased from 42.9% to 14.3% (an absolute decrease of 28.6%) and 30.1% to 25.3% (an absolute decrease of 4.8%), respectively. No cases of malignancy were found in the ATA 2015 "very low suspicion" group, even with a "suspicious" Afirma GEC result.

CONCLUSIONS: Both the ThyroSeq and Afirma GEC tests demonstrated decreases in the PPV when NIFTP was considered nonmalignant. In the era of NIFTP, a "positive" test result for either the Afirma GEC or ThyroSeq should be interpreted in light of clinical factors and should not exclude conservative (ie, lobectomy) surgical management. ATA 2015 "very low suspicion" nodules, even with "suspicious" Afirma GEC results, were not found to demonstrate malignancy in this series. Cancer Cytopathol 2018. © 2018 American Cancer Society.


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