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CT-detected solitary thyroid calcification: an important imaging feature for papillary carcinoma

Authors Yang T, Huang Y, Jing X, Gai X, Li W

Received 23 May 2016

Accepted for publication 31 August 2016

Published 13 October 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 6273—6279


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr William Cho

Tian-tian Yang,1,2,* Yong Huang,2,* Xu-quan Jing,1,2 Xiu-juan Gai,1,2 Wen-wu Li2

1School of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Jinan-Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, 2Department of Radiology, Shandong Cancer Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: To evaluate computed tomography (CT) detection of solitary thyroid calcification for identifying thyroid papillary carcinoma and to determine whether the predictive ability changes when the size increases after enhancement.
Materials and methods: CT scans on all 96 patients with thyroid nodules who underwent both enhanced CT examination of neck and thyroidectomy from 2014 to 2016 in the Shandong Cancer Hospital affiliated to Shandong University were reviewed. The cases without calcification and the cases with peripheral calcification, multiple coarse calcifications, or punctate calcification were excluded. Imaging features, including location and size of the lesions, were reviewed on plain and contrast-enhanced CT. The patients were grouped by histological results. The comparisons were evaluated by using Fisher’s exact test and binary logistic regression.
Results: The study population consisted of 96 patients (74 females, 22 males; mean age 49.8±11.3 years). Papillary thyroid carcinoma was observed in both solitary calcified thyroid nodules (85.4%) and solely coarse calcifications surrounded by low-density focus (58.2%). The difference was significant (P=0.006). Of 64 patients with an amplification of lesions after contrast enhancement, 58 (90.6%) were diagnosed with a malignant lesion. At the same time, of the 32 patients with no increase in size, 10 (31.2%) were diagnosed with carcinoma and 22 (68.8%) with nodular goiter. This difference was significant (P<0.001), and after binary logistic regression, increasing size was an independent risk factor for cancer.
Conclusion: Solitary calcified thyroid nodules detected on CT represent a high risk for papillary thyroid carcinoma, especially when the size of the lesions increases after contrast-enhanced CT.

computed tomography, solitary calcified thyroid nodule, papillary thyroid carcinoma, size

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