Objective: The purpose of our prospective longitudinal study was to evaluate the predictive efficacy of genetic testing for malignancies in fine-needle aspiration biopsy samples that are cytologically benign at the time of biopsy. Methods: A total of 779 aspirated cytological samples collected from thyroid nodules of 626 patients were included in a 3-year follow-up study. Consecutive patients with cytologically benign thyroid nodules by the Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology were enrolled in the study. At enrollment, somatic 1-point nucleotide polymorphisms of BRAF and RAS family genes were tested by melting-point analysis, while RET/PTC and PAX8/PPAR-gamma rearrangements were examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. The genetic test was considered to be positive if a somatic mutation was found. Malignant cytopathologic diagnoses were confirmed by histopathology. Results: In samples collected from 779 thyroid nodules, there were 39 BRAF, 33 RAS mutations, and 1 RET/PTC rearrangements found at the beginning of the study. No PAX8/PPAR-gamma rearrangement was identified. There were 52 malignant thyroid tumors removed during follow-up, out of which 24 contained a somatic mutation. The specificity of the presence of somatic mutations for malignancies was as high as 93.3%, and sensitivity was 46.2%. The negative predictive value of genetic testing reached 96.0%. Conclusion: Our results show that our set of genetic tests can predict the appearance of malignancy in benign thyroid nodules (at the beginning of follow-up) with high specificity and strong negative predictive value. Abbreviations: BRAF = v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 FLUS = follicular lesion of undetermined significance FNAB = fine-needle aspiration biopsy FTC = follicular thyroid carcinoma HRAS = homologous to the oncogene from the Harvey rat sarcoma virus KRAS = homologous to the oncogene from the Kirsten rat sarcoma virus NRAS = first isolated from a human neuroblastoma/neuroblastoma RAS = viral oncogene homolog PAX8 = paired box 8 PCR = polymerase chain reaction PPAR-gamma = peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma PTC = papillary thyroid carcinoma RAS = rat sarcoma RET = rearranged during transfection tyrosine-kinase proto-oncogene SM = somatic mutation SNP = single-nucleotide polymorphism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism