Thyroid Nodules and Goiters Presentations at American Thyroid Association: 88th Annual Meeting

By October 1, 2018 March 3rd, 2024 Goiter, Past News Releases, Thyroid Nodules

October 2, 2018—The American Thyroid Association (ATA) will hold its 88th Annual Meeting on October 3‒7, 2018, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. In addition to the major speeches and awards, a variety of smaller presentations will be accessible to attendees in the form of posters and oral abstracts. One group of these regards thyroid nodules and goiters.

    1. Dr. Trevor Angell of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, Massachusetts, will present a study called “Xpression Atlas Findings in the Genomic Sequencing Classifier (GSC) Clinical Validation Cohort.”

      The GSC used in this study classifies cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules as either benign (B) or suspicious (S). The ability to detect genomic variants and fusions was recently expanded by the Xpression Atlas (XA), which identifies 761 nucleotide variants and 130 fusion gene pairs in 511 genes. In this study, researchers used XA to analyze the mutational spectrum of 190 nodules classified with standard histologic diagnoses (using microscopic studies of the tissues) as belonging to categories III and IV in the Bethesda System for Reporting Thyroid Cytopathology (BSRTC). The conclusion was that GSC is better than XA for ruling out cancers, while the two used together may provide additional insights into pathway activation and potential cancer treatment targets.


    1. Another study involving XA will be presented by Dr. Allan C. Golding of the Memorial Center for Integrative Endocrine Surgery in Hollywood, Florida. Titled “Xpression Atlas Variants and Fusions Found Among 4,742 Thyroid Nodules,” the study involved reanalyzing all clinical samples with complete XA profiles from July 2017 to April 3, 2018.

      Overall, fusions were detected less frequently than variants across all BSRTC categories. This analysis supported excluding XA reporting among GSC-benign nodules. However, markedly different genomic insights were found between cohorts at increased risk of cancer, specifically, those in categories III through VI of the BSRTC. Together, the GSC and XA contribute substantial genomic content to advance preoperative risk stratification.


    1. In a presentation by Dr. Christine Cherella of Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), attendees will learn how “Malignancy Rates of Thyroid Nodules Differ Between Children and Adults Within Indeterminate Cytopathological Categories.” Thyroid nodules are more common in older individuals but are more likely to be malignant in younger ones. Although the BSRTC is widely used to interpret fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology, it is unclear whether BSRTC diagnostic categories suggest the same risk of malignancy in younger versus older patients.

      Researchers evaluated all consecutive patients who underwent FNA of a thyroid nodule ≥1 cm in diameter, at the BCH and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital between 1998 and 2016. They found that, in children and adults with clinically relevant thyroid nodules, malignancy rates differ within indeterminate BSRTC categories defined by similar morphologic features. This finding likely reflects true differences in nodule biology rather than variations in cytological classification.


    1. Dr. Yu-kun Luo of the Ultrasound Department, General Hospital of Chinese PLA, Beijing, China, will present a study titled “Artificial Intelligence-Assisted Ultrasound Diagnosis for Thyroid Nodules.” Due to uneven development of medical resources, diagnostic accuracy for thyroid nodules varies greatly. The aim of this study was to explore a novel AI-assisted ultrasound diagnostic system to improve the efficiency and accuracy of thyroid nodule diagnosis.

      To test the accuracy of the new system, 500 pathologically confirmed thyroid nodules were selected, including 208 benign and 292 malignant ones. The images of all nodules, acquired from 10 different types of ultrasound equipment, were dynamically stored in the form of consecutively longitudinal and transverse sections. The AI-assisted diagnostic system recognized and analyzed the features of the images and offered recommendations for diagnosis. The diagnostic accuracy of the system was then compared with that of junior and senior physicians. Results showed the diagnostic accuracy of the AI system alone was higher than that of junior physicians (77.6% vs. 70.5%); however, accuracy could reach 92.4% when junior physicians were assisted by the new AI system—higher than the accuracy of senior physicians (85.6%) unassisted by the system. For nodules of different sizes, testing showed no significant difference in diagnostic accuracy among the three groups.


    1. Another presentation will be given by Dr. Mingbo Zhang of the same department in Beijing’s General Hospital. Dr. Mingbo will describe a “Randomized controlled clinical trial of ethanol-sensitized radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for benign solid thyroid nodules” that took place between June 2016 and February 2018. While solid thyroid nodules are good candidates for RFA surgery, they often require high power and energy, which increase the incidence of complications. This study used ethanol as a sensitizer before RFA to explore whether that could achieve a safer, faster, and more effective result.

      Seventy-two patients with 84 nodules among them were enrolled in the study group and in a conventional RFA group, respectively, each with 42 nodules. The researchers concluded that ethanol can significantly improve the efficiency of RFA, reduce the time and energy of the ablation, and reduce the occurrence of complications.


  1. In a presentation titled “Efficacy and Safety of Thermal Ablation of 200 Benign Thyroid Nodules: Comparison of Three Techniques (Radiofrequency, Laser, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound),” Dr. Adrien Ben Hamou of the Endocrinology Department at the University Hospital in Lille, France, will describe a bicentric retrospective study conducted between October 2013 and January 2018.

    The aim was to compare the three ablation methods for treating benign thyroid nodules. Two hundred nodules were treated in 176 patients with benign histology or cytology, all of whom refused surgery. Clinical, biological, and ultrasound evaluation was performed before treatment. Researchers compared variations in volume and symptoms as well as side effects at 6 weeks and 12 months after treatment. Volume reduction between radiofrequency (RFA) and laser (LA) ablation was significantly different at 6 weeks but not at 12 months. After adjustments, no significant difference was observed at either 6 weeks or 12 months between RFA and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) or between LA and HIFU. Clinical symptoms were reduced in all three groups. Very few transient but potentially serious side effects were reported, the causes of which should be analyzed.


 The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international membership medical society with over 1,700 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 95th anniversary, the ATA continues to deliver its mission of being devoted to thyroid biology and to the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease through excellence in research, clinical care, education, and public health.  These efforts are carried out via several key endeavors:

  • The publication of the highly regarded professional journals Thyroid, Clinical Thyroidology, and VideoEndocrinology
  • Annual scientific meetings
  • Biennial clinical and research symposia
  • Research grant programs for young investigators
  • Support of online professional, public, and patient educational programs
  • Development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer

 The ATA promotes thyroid awareness and information online through Clinical Thyroidology for the Public and extensive, authoritative explanations of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer in both English and Spanish. The ATA website serves as the clinical resource for patients and the public who look for reliable information on the Internet. Every fifth year, the American Thyroid Association joins with the Latin American Thyroid Society, the European Thyroid Association, and the Asia and Oceania Thyroid Association to cosponsor the International Thyroid Congress (ITC).