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Thyroid Nodules in Pediatrics: Which Ones Can Be Left Alone, Which Ones Must Be Investigated, When and How.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23154160     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Thyroid nodules are less frequent in childhood than in adulthood, but are more often malignant. Recent estimates suggest that up to 25% of thyroid nodules in children are malignant, therefore, a more aggressive approach is recommended. In this review, we suggest an approach based on a first-step clinical, laboratory, and sonographic evaluation. A history of irradiation of the neck, cranium or upper thorax, previous thyroid diseases or thyroid neoplasms in the family should alert clinicians as being associated with a greater likelihood of malignant nodules. Signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism and dysmorphic features should be carefully considered during the physical examination. Palpable firm lymph nodes, found in some 70% of cases, are the most significant clinical finding in children with malignant nodules. Although the routine determination of calcitonin levels is not uniformly practiced, it can help recognize sporadic or familial medullary thyroid neoplasms. Blood TSH, fT4, and fT3 determinations (the latter in case of symptoms of hyperthyroidism) are aimed at identifying the few hyperthyroid patients, for whom the next step should be scintiscan. Hyperthyroid patients usually disclose an increased uptake, and a diagnosis of toxic adenoma is commonly made. Cases with normal thyroid function or hypothyroidism (which is usually subclinical) should be evaluated by fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). In eu/hypo-thyroid patients, scintiscan provides poor diagnostic information and should not be routinely employed. Thyroid ultrasonography is used to select cases for FNAB. Although ultrasound cannot reliably discriminate between benign and malignant lesions, it does provide an index of suspicion. Sonographic features that increase the likelihood of malignancy are microcalcifications, lymph node alterations, nodule growth under levothyroxine treatment, and increased intranodular vascularization demonstrated by color Doppler. There is growing evidence that elastography may provide further information on nodule characteristics. FNAB is indicated in all cases with a likelihood of malignancy. FNBA has a diagnostic accuracy of approximately 90% and is used in selection of patients which require surgery. Recently, histological markers and elastography have been introduced to increase the specificity of FNAB and ultrasound, respectively. The pitfall in FNAB cytology is the follicular cytology, in which it is not possible to distinguish between adenoma and carcinoma and therefore thyroidectomy is advised.
Andrea Corrias; Alessandro Mussa
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-11-15
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of clinical research in pediatric endocrinology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1308-5735     ISO Abbreviation:  J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-16     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101519456     Medline TA:  J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Department of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology, University of Torino, Regina Margherita Children's Hospital, Torino, Italy.
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