The effectiveness of hounsfield unit values in the differentiation of malign and benign thyroid nodules

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Durmaz F., Özgökçe M.

Eastern Journal of Medicine, vol.26, no.2, pp.326-333, 2021 (Scopus) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/ejm.2021.36450
  • Journal Name: Eastern Journal of Medicine
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, Academic Search Premier, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.326-333
  • Keywords: Computed tomography, Hounsfield unit, Malignancy, Thyroid nodule
  • Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Affiliated: Yes


© 2021, Yuzuncu Yil Universitesi Tip Fakultesi. All rights reserved.Thyroid nodules are today encountered more frequently due to the advances in imaging methods. Here, we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of computed tomography Hounsfield Unit (HU) values in the differential diagnosis of benign or malign thyroid nodules. This retrospective study involved 51 patients with thyroid nodules who had thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) result and chest computed tomography (CT) with or without contrast-enhanced, between January 2018 and September 2020. Circular ROIs (region of interest) were drawn on the section that best demonstrated the thyroid nodule on CT and obtained HU values were averaged. An independent t test was applied to the HU values for the malign-benign differentiation. Of the 40 patients who had contrast-enhanced CT, 25 were benign and 15 were malign. Of the 11 patients who had non-enhanced CT, 6 were benign and 5 were malign. In contrast-enhanced scans, nodule attenuation was statistically significantly higher in malign nodules (116.26±17.74 HU) when compared with benign nodules (93.84±24.33 HU) (p= 0.004). A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis revealed an area under the curve of 78.8%. The sensitivity and specificity of the cut-off value of 104.5 for the area under the curve were found to be 80% each. In non-enhanced scans, nodule attenuations were not significantly different in malign (49±12.14 HU) and benign (67.5±16 HU) nodules (p= 0.72). Considering the possibility of malignancy in thyroid nodules, the thyroid gland should be evaluated carefully with thoracic CT. Sonographic correlation is recommended for nodules with a HU value of 104.5 and above detected on contrast-enhanced tomography images.