Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Calcitonin level in fine-needle aspirate washout fluid (Ct-FNA) was extensively studied for thyroid nodules and lymph nodes (LN). However, the data was scarce for neck recurrences/metastases of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Thus, the diagnostic accuracy of Ct-FNA and cytology in the detection of neck LN metastases of recurrent MTC cases were assessed. Materials and methods: The database of MTC patients between 2010 and 2021 was retrospectively reviewed. A total of 32 patients with recurrent MTC and suspicious LN who underwent FNA and Ct measurement from washout samples were included in this study. Preoperative serum Ct (sCt), Ct-FNA, Ct-FNA/sCt ratio, cytology data were recorded for all participants. Results: Median sCt of 32 patients and Ct-FNA washout fluid levels of operated suspicious 44 LNs were 723 (54-9000) pg/mL and 1800 (151-9500) pg/mL, respectively. The diagnostic accuracy of Ct-FNA washout fluid was greater than cytology (95.4% vs. 86%, respectively). Using a cut-off level of >638.5 pg/mL, the Ct-FNA predicted the diagnosis of LN metastasis of recurrent MTC with a sensitivity of 80% and specificity of 94.9%. Furthermore, using a cut-off level of >1.16, the Ct-FNA/sCt ratio well predicted the diagnosis of LN metastasis of recurrent MTC with a sensitivity of 92.3% and specificity of 100%. Conclusion: As Ct-FNA has greater diagnostic accuracy in our study, it would be complementary to cytology results to localize metastatic LNs in recurrent MTC. Furthermore, for the first time, we demonstrated that the Ct-FNA/sCt ratio was a better predictor of metastatic LNs in recurrent MTC than a particular cut-off for Ct-FNA alone.


Recurrent medullary thyroid cancer, fine needle aspiration cytology, calcitonin, washout sample

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