Objectives/Hypothesis Hurthle cell tumors are a variant of follicular cell neoplasms. The purpose of the study was to determine the reliability of intraoperative frozen-section analysis for diagnosing Hurthle cell carcinoma and Hurthle cell neoplasm and to evaluate age, gender, and tumor size differences in the incidence of Hurthle cell carcinoma.
Study Design Retrospective chart review.
Methods The records of all patients undergoing thyroid surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (Long Island Campus of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY) from 1990 to 2000 were reviewed. Patients were identified whose final pathological finding was Hurthle cell neoplasm or Hurthle cell carcinoma. Age at diagnosis, gender, tumor size, and correlation between frozen-section analysis and final pathological finding was determined.
Results One hundred sixteen patients had Hurthle cell tumors on final pathological finding (49 had Hurthle cell carcinoma and 67 had Hurthle cell neoplasm). Eleven of these patients had incidental papillary carcinoma. There were 24 men and 92 women. Sixty-seven percent of the men (16 of 24) and 36% of the women (33 of 92) had Hurthle cell carcinoma on final pathological finding. The mean ages for Hurthle cell neoplasm and Hurthle cell carcinoma groups were 53 (median age, 50 y) and 58 years (median age, 61 y), respectively. One hundred eleven patients had intraoperative frozen-section analysis. Of the 49 patients with Hurthle cell carcinoma, 9 (19%) were diagnosed by frozen-section analysis, 36 (75%) had indeterminate frozen-section analysis, 3 (6%) were discovered to have papillary carcinoma on frozen-section analysis, and 1 did not have a frozen-section analysis. Multivariate analysis indicated that size correlated with malignancy and that gender did not (P = .0015).
Conclusions In the study population, only 19% of patients were discovered to have Hurthle cell carcinoma on frozen-section analysis. Sixty-seven percent of men with Hurthle cell neoplasm had malignancies, compared with 36% of women, and this difference was statistically significant.