Accuracy of the European Thyroid Imaging Reporting and Data System (EU-TIRADS) in the valuation of thyroid nodule malignancy in reference to the post-surgery histological results

Pol J Radiol. 2018 Dec 19;83:e579-e586. doi: 10.5114/pjr.2018.81556. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: To assess the clinical usefulness of the European Thyroid Imaging and Reporting Data System (EU-TIRADS) in the valuation of thyroid nodules malignancy in reference to post-surgery histological results.

Material and methods: Pre-operative ultrasound was performed in consecutive patients admitted for thyroid surgery between June 2017 and January 2018. Thyroid nodules were classified according to EU-TIRADS to five groups: 1-5. At least one fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB)/patient (dominant or suspected nodule) was performed in an outpatient clinic. The final diagnosis was based on the histological result. The percentage of cancers in each EU-TIRADS group was evaluated. Finally, sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, as well as positive and negative predictive values for malignancy were assessed.

Results: Fifty-two patients with a total of 140 thyroid nodules (median: 3 nodules/thyroid [minimum-maximum: 1-6]) were enrolled in the study. Thyroid cancer was diagnosed in 0% (0/6) in EU-TIRADS 2; 0% (0/92) in EU-TIRADS 3; 5.9% (2/34) in EU-TIRADS 4, and 75% (6/8) in EU-TIRADS 5. In nodules assessed as EU-TIRADS ≥ 4 sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for malignancy were, respectively: 75% (CI 95%: 40.7-93.5), 94.1% (CI 95%: 86.0-98.5), 75% (CI 95%: 40.7-93.5), and 94.1% (CI 95%: 86.0-98.5).

Conclusions: EU-TIRADS is a valuable and simple tool for assessment of the risk of malignancy of thyroid nodules and demonstrates a high ultrasound correlation with histological post-surgery results. FNAB should be performed in all nodules assessed as EU-TIRADS ≥ 4, due to higher risk of malignancy.

Keywords: EU-TIRADS; fine-needle aspiration biopsy; risk stratification; thyroid cancer; thyroid nodule; ultrasound.