Thyroid fine-needle aspiration biopsy in children and adolescents: experience with 218 aspirates

Diagn Cytopathol. 2005 Apr;32(4):189-92. doi: 10.1002/dc.20197.


To evaluate the role of fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of thyroid nodules in pediatric and adolescent patients, the cytology reports of 218 thyroid FNA biopsies performed on children and adolescents ranging from 10 to 21 yr of age were reviewed. The cytology diagnoses were categorized into four groups: unsatisfactory, benign, suspicious, and malignant. One hundred nineteen (54%) of the aspirates were diagnosed as "benign," 20 (9%) were diagnosed as suspicious for malignancy; and 17 (8%) were diagnosed as malignant. Sixty-two (28%) of the aspirates were read as unsatisfactory for interpretation. Sensitivity of thyroid FNA in diagnosing thyroid malignancy relative to final histological diagnoses was 100%, and specificity was 65%. FNA of thyroid nodules in the pediatric and adolescent population is comparably as sensitive and specific as in the adult population. The acceptance of this procedure in the routine evaluation of young patients' thyroid nodules should reduce the number of unnecessary surgeries for benign thyroid disease.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology*