Background: Thyroid nodules are a common clinical problem that require close attention to determine the risk of malignancy. This study was designed to investigate the diagnostic values of pathological characteristics, ultrasonographically-detected calcification, and serum TSH levels in thyroid cancer in Han Chinese.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was carried out using 1,685 patients with thyroid cancer or benign nodules, who had undergone thyroidectomy between 2008 and 2009 in our hospital.
Results: Among the 1,685 cases, 222 had thyroid carcinomas and, of those, 113 (50.9%) developed different benign thyroid diseases. The frequency of thyroid cancer showed a progressive decrease from the younger to the older patients. The frequency of malignancy was closely related to the level of calcification, with the lowest frequency occurring in patients with no calcification and the highest in those with micro-calcification. The frequency of malignancy was also closely related to serum TSH levels, with the lowest occurring in patients with TSH levels <0.40 uIU/mL, and the highest with >1.34 uIU/mL; in addition, <4.00 uIU/mL TSH showed a progressive increase from the lower to the upper of normal range.
Conclusions: Thyroid malignancies often coexist with benign thyroid disease. Age, TSH levels, and calcification of the nodules are predictors of malignancy.