TI-RADS outperforms leading guidelines for thyroid cancer biopsies

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The Thyroid Imaging Reporting and Data System (TI-RADS) is more accurate than differing recommendations for fine-needle aspiration biopsy of thyroid nodules issued by major radiology and endocrinology societies, according to study results presented at the annual meeting of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

Guidelines from the American Thyroid Association (ATA) as well as the Society of Radiologists in Ultrasound (SRU) identify similar characteristics for suspicious thyroid nodules, but no true consensus exists regarding whether a particular nodule warrants biopsy.

To tackle this problem, researchers used TI-RADS classifications, based on the successful BI-RADS reporting guidelines for breast lesions, to retrospectively analyze nodules from patients who were referred for fine-needle aspiration biopsy. They then compared the results to those obtained using the ATA and SRU guidelines.

They found that the TI-RADS system was more precise than the societal guidelines, scoring better in terms of diagnostic yield (22 percent) and accuracy (66 percent).

"TI-RADS-based sonographer suspicions outperformed ATA guidelines, and the ATA outperformed the SRU," said researcher and presenter Hannah Chung, MD, from the University of California, Los Angeles. “This supports the use of TI-RADS and highlights the need for consensus guidelines."