Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
This study had several purposes: to define cytomorphological features of thyroid cells that might be modified by alcohol fixation; to optimize May-Grünwald–Giemsa (MGG) staining on ThinPrep® (TP; Cytyc Inc., Bexborough, MA, USA) slides and to compare the diagnostic accuracy of slides prepared by a liquid-based method with those obtained by conventional technique. This study included 120 cases of ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) of the thyroid and 55 FNAs performed on surgically resected thyroid specimens. Histological control was available in 80 cases. In the first group of 120 FNAs, a split-sample technique was used for the TP. Three screenings were performed: first, an individual screening of the conventional smears (CS) and of the TP, a second screening to compare cells observed on the TP with the histological control and a third screening to assess the previously defined diagnostic criteria. Twenty-seven TP cases (22%) were considered unsatisfactory for diagnosis compared with 10 in CS (8%). The high rate of unsatisfactory cases with TP is likely to be due to the use of the split-sample technique. The sensitivity was 94% for CS and 81% for TP. The specificity was 67% and 60% for CS and TP, respectively. Two occult papillary carcinomas were missed by both methods. As for the MGG staining, the modified technique used for TP resulted in the same quality as the standard procedure. Conversely, TP did however induce uncommon morphological features. In this study, sensitivity and specificity levels are higher for CS than for TP; the difference may be explained by the fact that the methanol fixative used for TP induces some cytological alterations, especially in oncocytic tumours and lymphocytic thyroïditis.
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