Variants of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: An Algorithmic Cytomorphology-Based Approach to Cytology Specimens

Canberk S., Montezuma D., İNCE Ü. , TAŞTEKİN E., Soares P., Bongiovanni M., ...More

ACTA CYTOLOGICA, vol.64, no.4, pp.288-298, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 64 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1159/000503576
  • Title of Journal : ACTA CYTOLOGICA
  • Page Numbers: pp.288-298


Background:Thyroid cancer accounts for 1% of cancer cases in developed countries, in which papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common type. There are multiple variants of PTC described to date, some of them with aggressive behavior and poor clinical outcome. These variants are well described and accepted in recent guidelines of many international societies, and the prognostic and management implications are well laid out. Due to their established clinical importance and to guide appropriate surgical management, it is now imperative in clinical practice, including cytopathology, to differentiate aggressive variants from nonaggressive ones. This review aims to describe the variants of PTC and to provide a practical algorithmic approach to facilitate the cytological diagnosis of these variants.Summary:Subtyping PTC variants on fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is challenging even for the most experienced cytopathologist. To facilitate a correct subtyping on FNAC, we propose a stepwise approach that is mainly designed for conventional smear methodology. This approach requires first to stratify the lesions into oncocytic and nononcocytic features before analyzing further details in cell morphology and pattern.Key Messages:(1) Subtyping in PTC is possible on cytopathology. (2) The main aim of the cytopathologist is to differentiate aggressive from nonaggressive variants. (3) The subtyping of PTC can help in the surgical management of the patients.