Molecular testing for cytologically suspicious and malignant (Bethesda V and VI) thyroid nodules to optimize the extent of surgical intervention: a retrospective chart review

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Abstract

Background: Molecular testing has been used for cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules (Bethesda III and IV), where the risk of malignancy is 10–40%. However, to date, the role of molecular testing in cytologically suspicious or positive for malignancy (Bethesda V and VI) thyroid nodules has been controversial. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients who had molecular testing in Bethesda V and VI thyroid nodules had the optimal extent of surgery performed more often than patients who did not have molecular testing performed. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 122 cases was performed: 101 patients from the McGill University teaching hospitals and 21 patients from the Hillel Yaffe Medical center, Technion University. Patients included in the study were those with Bethesda V or VI thyroid nodules who underwent molecular testing (ThyGenext® or ThyroseqV3®) (McGill n = 72, Hillel Yaffe n = 14). Patients with Bethesda V or VI thyroid nodules who did not undergo molecular testing were used as controls (McGill n = 29, Hillel Yaffe n = 7). Each case was reviewed in order to determine whether the patient had optimal surgery. This was defined as total thyroidectomy in the presence of either a positive lymph node, extrathyroidal extension, or an aggressive pathological variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (tall cell, hobnail, columnar cell, diffuse sclerosing, and solid/trabecular) documented on the final pathology report. In all other cases, a lobectomy/hemi/subtotal thyroidectomy was considered as optimal surgery. Chi-squared testing was performed to compare groups. Results: When molecular testing was done, 91.86% (79/86) of surgeries in the molecular testing group were optimal, compared to 61.11% (22/36) in the control group. At McGill University teaching hospitals and at Hillel Yaffe, 91.67% (66/72) and 92.86% (13/14) of surgeries in the intervention group were considered as optimal, respectively. This compares to 58.62% (17/29) at McGill and 71.43% (5/7) at Hillel Yaffe when molecular testing was not performed (p =.001, p =.186). Conclusions: In this study, molecular testing in Bethesda V and VI thyroid tumors significantly improved the likelihood of optimal surgery. Therefore, molecular testing may have an important role in optimizing surgical procedures performed in the setting of Bethesda V and VI thyroid nodules. Prospective studies with larger sample sizes are required to further investigate this finding. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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Hier, J., Avior, G., Pusztaszeri, M., Krasner, J. R., Alyouha, N., Forest, V. I., … Payne, R. J. (2021). Molecular testing for cytologically suspicious and malignant (Bethesda V and VI) thyroid nodules to optimize the extent of surgical intervention: a retrospective chart review. Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 50(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40463-021-00500-6

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