2015 American Thyroid Association Management Guidelines for Adult Patients with Thyroid Nodules and Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: What is new and what has changed?

Cancer. 2017 Feb 1;123(3):372-381. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30360. Epub 2016 Oct 14.


Thyroid nodules are very common, and thyroid cancer is currently the fifth leading cancer diagnosis in women. The American Thyroid Association has led the development and revision of guidelines for the management of patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The most current revision was published in the January 2016 issue of the journal Thyroid. The current guidelines have 101 recommendations, with 8 figures and 17 tables that are hopefully helpful to those treating patients with thyroid nodules and cancer. The primary goals of the American Thyroid Association Guidelines Task Force were to use the current evidence to guide recommendations and yet be as helpful and practical as possible within the scope and strength of the evidence. The current review focuses on new and significantly revised recommendations that may very well change clinical practice. The author notes 3 new basic principles that have emerged in this guidelines revision: 1) the management of thyroid nodules, including the decision to perform a fine-needle aspiration biopsy as well as follow-up decision making, will be heavily influenced by the newly developed sonographic risk pattern; 2) the long-term management of DTC along with thyroid-stimulating hormone target goals will be heavily influenced by the 4 categories of "response to therapy"; and 3) the management of patients with radioactive iodine-refractory DTC will be divided into 4 basic decision-making groups: patients who should undergo monitoring, patients who should undergo directed therapies, patients who should undergo systemic therapies, and patients who should be offered entry into clinical trials. Cancer 2017;123:372-381. © 2016 American Cancer Society.

Keywords: differentiated thyroid cancer; guidelines; radioactive iodine-refractory thyroid cancer; thyroid nodules; thyroid surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle*
  • Female
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology
  • Thyroid Gland / surgery
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology
  • Thyroid Nodule / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Ultrasonography
  • United States


  • Iodine Radioisotopes