Purpose: Several ultrasound (US) risk stratification systems (US-RSSs) have been proposed to stratify the risk of malignancy (ROM) of thyroid nodules. This risk might be overestimated due to selection bias and comparison with the cytological report alone. Our study aimed to compare ROM and diagnostic performance of three guidelines (ATA, AACE/ACE/AME, EUTIRADS) and evaluate the changes in unnecessary biopsy according to the nodule size cutoff for biopsy, using histology as gold standard. Methods: This retrospective observational study included 146 consecutive patients who underwent surgery after US and cytological characterization. We analyzed the effectiveness and accuracy of three US-RSSs. Results: 46.6% of nodules were diagnosed as malignant. Applying US-RSS, the percentage of nodules that should have been analyzed by biopsy was 84.25% with ATA, 69.86% with EUTIRADS and 64.38% with AACE/ACE/AME systems. The ROM was 94.9%, 86.0%, 87.0% for high-risk category, 36.4%, 32.0%, 35.4% for intermediate-risk category and 22.9%, 0.0%, 22.9% for low-risk category by ATA, AACE/ACE/AME and EUTIRADS systems, respectively. EUTIRADS and AACE/ACE/AME systems were more accurate in differentiating malignant from benign cases. ATA score was the more sensitive US-RSS to identify malignant tumors within the high-risk category. About the unnecessary biopsies, in the intermediate-risk category, the application of the size criterion helps to increase specificity in all systems. Conclusions: The US categorization of low and high-risk thyroid nodules using current US-RSSs helps alone to determine the optimal treatment option. Nodule size remains relevant to recommend biopsy for the intermediate-risk category.
Falco E. C.;Bisceglia A.;Gambella A.;Rossetto R.;Garberoglio S.;Maletta F.;Pacchioni D.;Ghigo E.
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