Evaluation of Children and Adolescents with Thyroid Nodules: A Single Center Experience

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2021 Aug 23;13(3):276-284. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.galenos.2020.2020.0213. Epub 2020 Dec 30.


Objective: We aimed to evaluate the clinical, radiological and pathological findings of children and adolescents with thyroid nodules.

Methods: Data of 121 children and adolescent with thyroid nodules and had fine needle aspiration (FNA) were examined retrospectively. Concomitant thyroid disease, ultrasonography (US) features of the nodule, FNA and histopathological results were recorded. FNA results were assessed according to The Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (TBSRTC).

Results: Median (range) age of the cases was 14 (3-18) years and 81% were female. FNA results of patients were: insufficient in 1 (0.8%); benign in 68 (56.2%); indeterminate in 44 (36.4%); and malignant in 8 (6.6%) patients. Among 39 patients who underwent surgery, 10 (25.6%) had differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and the overall malignancy rate was 10.0% (10/100). Follow-up FNA results showed progress based on TBSRTC in 18.7% of benign results and 4/75 patients had DTC on surgical excision. Two of 22 patients with atypia of undetermined significance (AUS) who continued follow-up was diagnosed with DTC. Male gender, presence of Hashimoto thyroiditis and US findings of uninodularity, hypoechogenicity, increased blood flow, irregular margins, solid structure, microcalcification and presence of abnormal cervical lymph nodes were associated with malignancy.

Conclusion: In this study 10% of thyroid nodules were malignant in children and adolescents. Patients with AUS have a 9% potential for malignancy. Patients with initially benign FNA result may have changes on repeat FNA when assessed with TBSTRC indicating a 5.3% false negative rate.

Keywords: Adolescents; children; fine needle aspiration; thyroid nodule.