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Comparison of Various Ultrasound-Based Malignant Risk Stratification Systems on an Occasion for Assessing Thyroid Nodules in Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

PURPOSE: To compare the diagnostic performance and unnecessary ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (US-FNA) biopsy rate of the 2015 American Thyroid Association (ATA), 2016 Korean Society of Thyroid Radiology (KSThR), and 2017 American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines for patients with and without Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This retrospective study included 716 nodules from 696 consecutive patients, which were classified using the categories defined by the three guidelines: ATA, KSThR, and ACR. The malignancy risk in each category was calculated and the diagnostic performance and unnecessary fine-needle aspiration (FNA) rates of the three guidelines were compared.

RESULTS: In total, 426 malignant and 290 benign nodules were identified. Patients with malignant nodules had lower total thyroxine levels and higher thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyroid peroxidase antibody, and thyroglobulin antibody levels than those without malignant nodules (all P <0.01). The margin difference was significant in non-HT patients ( P <0.01), but comparable in HT patients ( P =0.55). The calculated malignancy risks of high and intermediate suspicion nodules in the ATA and KSThR guidelines and moderately suspicious nodules in the ACR guidelines were significantly lower in non-HT patients compared with HT patients ( P <0.05). The ACR guidelines showed the lowest sensitivity, highest specificity, and lowest unnecessary FNA rates in patients with and without HT. Compared to non-HT patients, HT patients had significantly lower unnecessary FNA rates ( P <0.01).

CONCLUSION: HT was associated with a higher malignancy rate of thyroid nodules with intermediate suspicion according to the ATA, KSThR, and ACR guidelines. The three guidelines, especially ACR, were likely to be more effective and could allow a greater reduction in the percentage of benign nodules biopsied in patients with HT.

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