The role of molecular diagnostic testing in the management of thyroid nodules.


Fine needle aspiration (FNA) with cytologic examination remains the standard of care for investigation of thyroid nodules. However, as many as 30% of FNA samples are cytologically indeterminate for malignancy, which confounds clinical management. To reduce the burden of repeat diagnostic testing and unnecessary surgery, there has been extensive investigation into molecular markers that can be detected on FNA specimens to more accurately stratify a patient’s risk of malignancy. Areas Covered: In this review, the authors discuss recent evidence and progress in molecular markers used in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer highlighting somatic gene alterations, molecular technologies and microRNA analysis. Expert Commentary: The goal of molecular markers is to improve diagnostic accuracy and aid clinicians in the preoperative management of thyroid lesions. Modalities such as direct mutation analysis, mRNA gene expression profiling, next-generation sequencing, and miRNA expression profiling have been explored to improve the diagnostic accuracy of thyroid nodule FNA. Although no perfect test has been discovered, molecular diagnostic testing has revolutionized the management of thyroid nodules.

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