What is the role of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 09, 2018
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

FNAB is the most important diagnostic tool in evaluating thyroid nodules and should be the first intervention. The following are the 4 possible results from this procedure:

  • Benign disease

  • Malignant disease

  • Indeterminate for diagnosis

  • Nondiagnostic

Up to 50% of repeated biopsies result in a definitive diagnosis. Patients whose findings are indeterminate or nondiagnostic despite repeat biopsy can undergo surgery for lobectomy for tissue diagnosis. Nondiagnostic cases can also be monitored clinically, and radioiodine scans can be useful for determining the functional status of the nodule, because most hyperfunctioning nodules are benign.


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