To test whether the impact of thyroid-nodule size on the malignancy risk differs according to the ultrasonography (US) patterns of nodules.
This study is a post hoc analysis using data from the Thyroid Imaging Reporting and Data System (TIRADS) multicenter retrospective study which included 2000 consecutive thyroid nodules (≥ 1 cm) with final diagnoses. A total of 2000 consecutive thyroid nodules from 1802 patients (1387 women and 613 men; mean age, 51.2 ± 12.2 years) were enrolled in this study. The malignancy risk of the nodules was assessed according to the nodule size and US patterns (Korean-TIRADS).
Overall, the malignancy risk did not increase as nodules enlarged. In high-suspicion nodules, the malignancy rate had no association with nodule size (p = 0.467), whereas in intermediate- or low-suspicion nodules there was a trend toward an increasing malignancy risk as the nodule size increased (p = 0.004 and 0.002, respectively). The malignancy rate of large nodules (≥ 3 cm) was higher than that of small nodules (< 3 cm) in intermediate-suspicion nodules (40.3% vs. 22.6%, respectively; p = 0.001) and low-suspicion nodules (11.3% vs. 7.0%, respectively; p = 0.035). There was a trend toward a decreasing risk and proportion of papillary carcinoma and an increasing risk and proportion of follicular carcinoma or other malignant tumors as nodule size increased (p < 0.001, respectively).