Noninvasive Follicular Thyroid Neoplasm with Papillary-Like Nuclear Features (NIFTP): An Update

Head Neck Pathol. 2020 Jun;14(2):303-310. doi: 10.1007/s12105-019-01124-z. Epub 2020 Mar 2.


Based on evidence accumulated over the past three decades showing that noninvasive encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma has an indolent clinical behavior and a RAS-like molecular profile similar to follicular adenoma, the Endocrine Pathology Society working group in 2016 proposed to rename this entity as "noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP)" in order to eliminate the term "carcinoma" from the diagnosis. It is a major evidence-based attempt initiated by an international group of endocrine pathologists to tackle the epidemic of thyroid cancer overdiagnosis and overtreatment. However, its creation and continuous existence are not without controversies. NIFTP has sparked a wave of follow up studies aiming to decipher the exact nature of this new entity. In this review, we summarize the rationale, diagnostic criteria, controversies and subsequent changes to the NIFTP concept, and their impact on patient care and pathology practice.

Keywords: BRAF; Follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma; Noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP); RAS; Thyroid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / classification*
  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary / classification*
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / classification*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*