Positive central lymph-nodes are underdiagnosed in patients with Bethesda V cytology in an endemic goiter region

Lindsay Hargitai, Stephanie Strobl, Oskar Koperek, Susanne Urach, Wolfgang Raber, Anton Staudenherz, Christian Scheuba, Philipp Riss

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article


BACKGROUND: Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is a significant diagnostic procedure for detecting malignancy in patients with nodular thyroid disease. A high proportion of patients with cytological diagnosed follicular neoplasia (Bethesda IV and V) ultimately have thyroid cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of preoperatively undiagnosed central lymph node metastasis in patients with multinodular goiter (MNG).

METHODS: Patients who underwent FNA and were classified as Bethesda IV/V were included. Applying a radical approach, all patients underwent (hemi)thyroidectomy and prophylactic unilateral central neck dissection.

RESULTS: During our study period 2009-2013, 60 patients (19.7%) were classified as Bethesda IV and 21 (6.9%) Bethesda V. Final histopathological results revealed malignancy in 35 (43.2%) of 81 Bethesda IV/V nodules. Of the nodules classified as Bethesda IV, 20 (33.3%) showed malignancy in the final histology. Ten patients (16.7%) had papillary micro-carcinoma (mPTC, <10 mm), 4 (6.6%) PTC and 6 (10%) follicular thyroid cancer. Fifteen of 21 (71.4%) Bethesda V nodules were revealed as PTC of whom seven (33.3%) patients also had lymph-node metastases.

CONCLUSIONS: While 33.3% of the patients with PTC, preoperatively classified as Bethesda V, had previously undetected positive lymph-nodes, only one patient with Bethesda IV had lymph-node metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-260
Number of pages9
JournalGland Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2020


  • Bethesda
  • Central neck dissection
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA)
  • Follicular neoplasia
  • Lymph node

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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