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Each year, tens of thousands of patients with thyroid nodules have surgery to remove all or part of their thyroids due to results that are indeterminate yet raise suspicions of thyroid cancer. Ultimately, most of these nodules prove benign. Increasingly, indeterminate nodules in the United States are being evaluated with a new molecular diagnostic test that measures the expression levels of 142 genes. This test is able to identify which initially indeterminate nodules are highly likely to be benign, and thus allow patients to avoid unnecessary diagnostic surgery.
Now, data from a new long-term, multicenter study confirm the accuracy of molecular diagnostic test in identifying benign thyroid nodules. The findings further support physicians' decision to avoid diagnostic surgery on such patients and monitor them instead - and suggest that this change in clinical practice is occurring. The findings appear online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and were presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"These longer-term findings build on our previous study published last year in NEJM which should further reinforce physicians' confidence in making the decision to conservatively monitor patients with benign gene expression test results, rather than directing them to surgery," said Erik Alexander, M.D., lead author of the study and a physician-researcher in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Authors: Erik K. Alexander, MD, Melanie Schorr, MD, Joshua Klopper, MD, Caroline Kim, MD, Jennifer Sipos, MD, Fadi Nabhan, MD, Charles Parker, MD, David L. Steward, MD, Susan J. Mandel, MD, MPH and Bryan R. Haugen, MD
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism - October 23, 2013, doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-2482
BWH Communication & Public Affairs
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
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BWH Communication & Public Affairs. "Gene expression test clarifies thyroid biopsies." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 28 Oct. 2013. Web.
4 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267915>
BWH Communication & Public Affairs. (2013, October 28). "Gene expression test clarifies thyroid biopsies." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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