A Comprehensive Study on the Diagnosis and Management of Noninvasive Follicular Thyroid Neoplasm with Papillary-Like Nuclear Features

Bayan A. Alzumaili, Lauren N. Krumeich, Reagan Collins, Timothy Kravchenko, Emad I. Ababneh, Adam S. Fisch, William C. Faquin, Vania Nosé, Maria Martinez-Lage, Gregory W. Randolph, Rajshri M. Gartland, Carrie C. Lubitz, Peter M. Sadow

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Since the noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTPs) was introduced in 2016, most retrospective studies have included cases diagnosed as encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma. We investigate a cohort diagnosed with NIFTP at resection. Methods: Retrospective institutional cohort of NIFTP from 2016 to 2022, including clinical, cytological, and molecular data for 319 cases (6.6% of thyroid surgeries, 183 cases as NIFTP-only). Results: The patient cohort had unifocal or multifocal thyroid nodules. Female:male ratio was 2.7:1, mean age was 52 years and median NIFTP size was 2.1 cm. NIFTP was associated with multiple nodules in 23% patients (n = 73) and 12% of NIFTP were multifocal (n = 39). Fine needle aspiration (FNA) of NIFTP (n = 255) were designated as nondiagnostic = 5%, benign = 13%, atypia of undetermined significance/follicular lesion of undetermined significance (AUS/FLUS) = 49%, follicular neoplasm/suspicious for follicular neoplasm (FN/SFN) = 17%, suspicious for malignancy = 12%, or malignant = 4%. Molecular alterations were identified in 93% (n = 114), RAS or RAS-like. Thyroid Imaging Reporting and Data System (TI-RADS) score 4 was recorded in 50% of NIFTP, followed by scores 3 and 5 (26% and 20%, respectively). We also investigated the factors associated with extent of surgery. In our NIFTP-only group (n = 183), 66% were identified after hemithyroidectomy (HT) and 34% after total thyroidectomy (TT). On univariate analysis, TT patients demonstrated higher Bethesda category by FNA, more often had aberrant preoperative thyroid function, and/or underwent an FNA of additional nodule(s). With multivariable regression, Bethesda V NIFTP, in the presence of other nodules being evaluated by FNA and aberrant preoperative thyroid function, independently predicts TT. Bethesda II NIFTP correlated significantly with HT. Fifty-two patients (28%) with NIFTP-only had at least one postoperative surveillance ultrasound. In the NIFTP-only cohort, no HT patients had completion thyroidectomy or received postoperative radioactive iodine. No recurrence or metastases were recorded with median follow-up of 35 months (6-76 months; n = 120). Conclusions: Given this large cohort of NIFTP, including a large subset of isolated NIFTP-only, some with >6 years of follow-up and no tumor recurrences, consensus practical guidelines are needed for adequate postoperative management. Given the American Thyroid Association (ATA) provides guidelines for management of low-risk malignancies, guidance regarding that for borderline/biologically uncertain tumors, including NIFTP, is a reasonable next step.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-577
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • FNA
  • management
  • molecular
  • surveillance


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