Ultrasound-guided percutaneous thyroid nodule core biopsy: Clinical utility in patients with prior nondiagnostic fine-needle aspirate

Anthony E. Samir, Abhinav Vij, Melanie K. Seale, Gaurav Desai, Elkan Halpern, William C. Faquin, Sareh Parangi, Peter F. Hahn, Gilbert H. Daniels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Background: Five percent to 20% of thyroid nodule fine-needle aspiration (FNA) samples are nondiagnostic. The objective of this study was to determine whether a combination of FNA and core biopsy (CFNACB) would yield a higher proportion of diagnostic readings compared with FNA alone in patients with a history of one or more prior nondiagnostic FNA readings. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of 90 core biopsies (CBs) performed in 82 subjects (55 women and 27 men) between 2006 and 2008 in an outpatient clinic. Results: CFNACB yielded a diagnostic reading in 87%. The diagnostic reading yield of the CB component of CFNACB was significantly superior to the concurrent FNA component, with CB yielding a diagnosis in 77% of cases and FNA yielding a diagnosis in 47% (p<0.0001). The combination of CB and FNA had a higher diagnostic reading yield than either alone. In 69 nodules that had only one prior nondiagnostic FNA, CB was diagnostic in 74%, FNA was diagnostic in 52%, CFNACB was diagnostic in 87%, and CB performed significantly better than FNA (p=0.0135). In 21 nodules with two or more prior nondiagnostic FNAs, CFNACB and CB were diagnostic in 86%, FNA was diagnostic in 29%, and CB was significantly better than FNA (p=0.0005). Clinical, ultrasound, or histopathologic follow-up was available for 81% (73/90) of the CFNACB procedures. No subject with a benign CFNACB reading was diagnosed with thyroid malignancy in the follow-up period (range 4-37 months, mean 18 months), although one subject had minimal increase in nodule size and was awaiting repeat sonography at study conclusion. Conclusion: Thyroid nodule CFNACB is safe and clinically useful in selected patients when a prior FNA reading is nondiagnostic. CFNACB is superior to either CB or FNA alone. CFNACB should be strongly considered as an alternative to surgery in individuals with two prior nondiagnostic FNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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