Background: Studies examining differences in presentation of patients with benign [follicular adenoma (FA)] and malignant follicular thyroid neoplasms [follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) or follicular variant papillary thyroid carcinoma (FVPTC)] include only one or two of these subtypes, and none has considered clinical, cytological, and sonographic features together. We therefore examined presenting clinical features of all benign and malignant follicular neoplasm subtypes in an attempt to identify predictors of malignancy. Methods: Consecutive patients with a surgically resected follicular thyroid neoplasm at a tertiary hospital from 2005 to 2013 were reviewed. Age, gender, symptoms, history, physical findings, nodule size, sonographic, cytologic, and final pathologic results were recorded. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine variables that contributed to a diagnosis of malignant follicular neoplasm. Results: A total of 616 patients (163 males, 453 females) presented with 441 FAs, 17 FTCs, and 158 FVPTCs. On multivariate analysis, male sex [odds ratio (OR) 1.87, p = 0.008], family history of thyroid cancer (OR 5.16, p < 0.001), and history of head and neck radiation (OR 2.01, p = 0.04) were associated with an increased odds of malignancy; age >45 (OR 2.03, p = 0.001), dysphagia (OR 3.48, p = 0.001) or pressure sensation (OR 3.00, p = 003), concomitant hyperthyroidism (OR 4.76, p = 0.01), nodules ≥4 cm (OR 3.68, p < 0.001), and multinodularity on physical examination (OR 1.93, p = 0.004) were associated with an increased odds of a benign lesion. Conclusions: Independent clinical predictors exist that might be helpful in preoperative differentiation of benign and malignant follicular neoplasms. A combination of these predictors with both FNA and molecular results may help us to improve the clinical management of patients with follicular thyroid lesions.
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