Thyroid nodules are a very common problem. Since malignant thyroid nodules should be treated surgically, preoperative diagnosis of thyroid cancer is very crucial. Cytopathologic analysis of percutaneous fine-needle aspiration (FNA) specimens is the current gold standard for diagnosing thyroid nodules. However, this method has led to high rates of inconclusive results. Metabolomics has emerged as a useful tool in medical fields and shown great potential in diagnosing various cancers. Here, we evaluated the potential of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis of percutaneous FNA specimens for preoperative diagnosis of thyroid cancer. We analyzed metabolome of FNA samples of papillary thyroid carcinoma (n = 35) and benign follicular nodule (n = 69) using a proton NMR spectrometer. The metabolomic profiles showed a considerable discrimination between benign and malignant nodules. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis indicated that seven metabolites could serve as discriminators (area under ROC curve value, 0.64-0.85). These findings demonstrated that NMR analysis of percutaneous FNA specimens of thyroid nodules can be potentially useful in the accurate and rapid preoperative diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas