Serum thyrotropin as a risk factor for thyroid malignancy in euthyroid subjects with thyroid micronodule

Head Neck. 2012 Jul;34(7):949-52. doi: 10.1002/hed.21828. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Background: An elevated thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level is a risk factor for differentiated thyroid cancer. The present study investigated whether TSH is a risk factor for thyroid microcarcinoma (TMC) in euthyroid subjects with a micronodule.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 483 euthyroid subjects (77 males patients, 406 females patients) with a thyroid micronodule were enrolled and underwent ultrasound guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Serum TSH level was measured in every subject. The final diagnostic outcome (malignant or benign) was defined in conjunction with cytology and histology.

Results: Compared with the patients below the population mean, patients above the population mean had a significantly higher malignancy rate (10.8% vs 4.8%, p = .025). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed TSH as an independent risk factor for malignancy in euthyroid patients with a micronodule (odds ratio, 1.449; 95% confidence interval, 1.033-2.033; p = .031).

Conclusions: Measurement of TSH in subjects with a thyroid micronodule is helpful to estimate cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / blood*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Nodule / blood*
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology
  • Thyrotropin / blood*


  • Thyrotropin