Cytotechnologist Performance for Screening Hürthle Cell Atypia in Indeterminate Thyroid Fine-Needle Aspirates

Christopher J. Vandenbussche, Christina Adams, Syed Z. Ali, Matthew T. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: We have previously shown that specimens diagnosed as containing Hürthle cells have a 12% chance of being malignant if they are classified as atypia of undetermined significance (AUS-HC). The identification of Hürthle cells by cytotechnologists (CTs) during screening can improve cytopathologist efficiency and may prevent diagnostic errors due to the oversights of focal findings. Here, we examine the performance of our institutional CTs when screening for Hürthle cell atypia in thyroid fine-needle aspiration (FNA) specimens. Study Design: Information on 8,814 thyroid cytopathology specimens was retrieved for a 10-year period. Specimens were screened by 1 of 11 CTs. A subsample of cases was categorized either as AUS-HC or suspicious for Hürthle cell neoplasm. Results: AUS-HC screening diagnoses were more likely to be downgraded to benign but less likely to be upgraded compared to AUS diagnoses with nuclear or microfollicular atypia. AUS-HC represents almost all papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) screening diagnoses downgraded to the AUS category, which suggests that even low levels of Hürthle cell atypia can result in PTC being included in the differential diagnosis. Conclusion: Overall, there are few major discrepancies between CT and pathologist diagnoses for specimens containing Hürthle cell atypia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalActa cytologica
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Atypia
  • Cytotechnologist
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Thyroid classification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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