Objective: To address terminology and other issues related to thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hosted The NCI Thyroid FNA State of the Science Conference. The conclusions regarding terminology and morphologic criteria from the NCI meeting led to the Bethesda Thyroid Atlas Project and form the framework for the Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology.
Design: Participants of the Atlas Project were selected from among the committee members of the NCI FNA State of the Science Conference and other participants at the live conference. The terminology framework was based on a literature search of English language publications dating back to 1995 using PubMed as the search engine; online forum discussions ( http://thyroidfna.cancer.gov/forums/default.aspx ); and formal interdisciplinary discussions held on October 22 and 23, 2007, in Bethesda, MD.
Main outcome: For clarity of communication, the Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology recommends that each report begin with one of the six general diagnostic categories. Each of the categories has an implied cancer risk that links it to an appropriate clinical management guideline.
Conclusions: The project participants hope that the adoption of this framework will facilitate communication among cytopathologists, endocrinologists, surgeons, and radiologists; facilitate cytologic-histologic correlation for thyroid diseases; facilitate research into the understanding of thyroid diseases; and allow easy and reliable sharing of data from different laboratories for national and international collaborative studies.