Background: The aim of this meta-analysis was to compare sensitivities and specificities of fine needle aspiration (FNA) and core needle biopsy (CNB) in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Materials and
Methods: Articles were screened in Medline, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE and Google Scholar, and subsequentlyincluded and excluded based on the patient/problem-intervention-comparison-outcome (PICO) principle. Primary outcome was defined in terms of diagnostic values (sensitivity and specificity) of FNA and CNB for thyroid cancer. Secondary outcome was defined as the accuracy of diagnosis. Compiled FNA and CNB results from the final studies selected as appropriate for meta-analysis were compared with cases for which final pathology diagnoses were available. Statistical analyses were performed for FNA and CNB for all of the selected studies together, and for individual studies using the leave-one-out approach.
Results: Article selection and screening yielded five studies for meta-analysis, two of which were prospective and the other three retrospective, for a total of1,264 patients. Pooled diagnostic sensitivities of FNA and CNB methods were 0.68 and 0.83, respectively, with specificities of 0.93 and 0.94. The areas under the summary ROC curves were 0.905 (±0.030) for FNA and 0.745 (±0.095) for CNB, with no significant difference between the two. No one study had greater influence than any other on the pooled estimates for diagnostic sensitivity and specificity.
Conclusions: FNA and CNB do not differ significantly in sensitivity and specificity for diagnosis of thyroid cancer.