Friday, September 7, 2012
Improving Diagnosis of Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid nodules are thought to be present in about half of all people, but very few of these are cancerous. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Cancer presents a set of diagnostic biomarkers which are able to distinguish between malignant and benign thyroid nodules. Thyroid nodules are first assessed using fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology. But about a third of results come back as indeterminate and require a diagnostic thyroidectomy. Of these, only about 20% turn out to be malignant. Obviously that 20% require further treatment (usually a full thyroidectomy) but the other 80% have had unnecessary, but currently unavoidable, surgery. If only there was a better way. Researchers from University of Pisa and Pisa University Hospital, Italy led by Dr. Chiara Mazzanti, have addressed this problem using a Bayesian Artificial Neural Network model to examine gene expression levels from over 90 different FNA. They found eight biomarkers each capable alone, or in combination, to distinguish between malignant and benign samples. In a test group the gene activity set (KIT, CDH1, LSM7, C21orf4, DDI2, TC1, Hs.296031 and BRAF) was able to correctly identify malignant and benign tumours 89% of the time.
posted by SCIENCE NEWS at 5:28 AM