Challenge in the Pathological Diagnosis of the Follicular- Patterned Thyroid Lesions

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Egypt.

2 Department of Pathology Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt.

3 Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt.

4 Department of Internal Medicine Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt.


Background: The follicular-patterned thyroid lesions (FPTLs) include hyperplastic nodules (HN), follicular adenoma (FA), non-invasive follicular neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP), follicular carcinoma (FC), and the follicular variant of papillary carcinoma (FVPTC). Sometimes the pathologists cannot accurately separate these lesions from each others on a histological basis. Aims: To evaluate the utility of immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of FPTLs. Materials and methods: Immunohistochemical analysis, incorporating 83 cases of histologically confirmed FPTLs out of which 20 carcinomas, 51 benign FPTLs (38 HN and 13 FA), and 12NIFTP were separated from each others using four immunostains (HBME-1, CK19, Galectin-3, and CD56). Results: We found statistically significantly more frequent expression of HBME-1, CK19, Galectin-3 proteins in carcinomas as compared to benign FPTLs (p = <0.01). HBME-1 and Galectin-3 were the most sensitive markers for the diagnosis of malignant FPTLs (75%). Galectin-3 was the most specific marker for the diagnosis of carcinoma (90.3%). Conclusions: The histomorphological features remain the cornerstone of the diagnosis of FPTN. Although HBME-1, Galectin-3, and CK19 immunostains have some diagnostic value in the separation of malignant from benign FPTLs, they are variably expressed in the benign and malignant FPTLs. No single immunostain has sufficient sensitivity and specificity and therefore their diagnostic use is controversial. Future studies are mandated to find more reliable markers that can separate between benign and malignant FPTLs.


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