2017 Volume 64 Issue 11 Pages 1099-1104
Many cytological studies on medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) have been reported; however, such studies in large series of patients with MTC have not been performed. We investigated MTC at a single institution in Japan using fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC), and aimed to establish a preoperative diagnostic algorithm for MTC. FNAC was performed in 119 of 149 patients with MTC (79.9%) who ultimately underwent surgical resection. Moreover, 22 of 56 hereditary MTC (39.3%) were diagnosed preoperatively without FNAC by their high serum calcitonin levels or increased response to calcium stimulation (11 cases each), as well as RET mutation analysis. On FNAC, 76.5% of nodules were categorized as ‘malignancy’ or ‘suspicious for malignancy’. The sensitivity and specificity of calcitonin measurement in aspiration needle wash-out fluid and in immunocytochemical staining for calcitonin were 96.3% and 92.3% respectively. We proposed an algorithm for preoperative diagnosis of MTC utilizing FNAC: When thyroid nodules are highly suspicious for MTC by their clinical and ultrasonographic features, serum calcitonin measurement with or without a calcium stimulation test is required. Furthermore, FNAC should be performed for patients who do not have those findings. When there is a possibility of MTC at the time of FNAC, calcitonin measurement using needle wash-out fluid is a reliable diagnostic tool. When MTC is suspected on cytological examination, immunocytochemical staining for calcitonin is useful for confirming MTC diagnosis.