Clinical-pathological issues in thyroid pathology: study on the routine application of NIFTP diagnostic criteria

Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 12;9(1):13179. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49851-1.


In 2017, the WHO classification of tumours of the endocrine organs established the criteria for a NIFTP diagnosis. The present paper considers some aspects that are still debated or unresolved: the real incidence and clinical meaning of multifocal/multinodular lesions, the biological behaviour of micro-NIFTP, the sprinkling phenomenon and the corresponding modifications to the FNA reporting systems based on changes to the ROM. Moreover, the paper suggests possible scenarios for the clinical-pathological management of this entity. From the initial 1470 cases, a group of 68 NIFTPs was recruited in a 9 year-long period. The average age at diagnosis was 55 years. The average diameter of the lesion was 1.7 cm (0.1 cm-10 cm). In 41 cases (60.1%), the lesion was inserted in the context of a multinodular background. In 12 cases, the diagnosis was incidental and the pre- operative FNA was performed on a different target. In 10 out of 68 cases, there was a multifocal NIFTP; in 14.7% of patients, PTC-like nuclear features showed sprinkling phenomenon. The cytological revision allocated 21 cases (49%) to the SIAPEC TIR3 indeterminate class and a nuclear score 2 or 3 were identified in 25 smears. Multifocality is part of the spectrum of NIFTPs, that can arise in a multinodular background with variable sizes from microscopic lesions to very large ones. Cytopathological criteria such as an evaluation of the nuclear score may help the pathologists in promoting a NIFTP diagnosis in the preoperative setting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Thyroid Gland* / metabolism
  • Thyroid Gland* / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / pathology