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The objective of this study was to compare the utility of Thin-Prep (TP) cytologic preparation with that of Cell Block (CB) preparation in the diagnosis of thyroid lesions, mainly follicular epithelial lesions, by fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). Feasibility of using the TP slides for immunocytochemical stains is also discussed.


A total of 126 consecutive cases of thyroid FNAB with TP slides and 128 consecutive cases of thyroid FNAB with CB slides were reviewed blindly by two cytopathologists. The presence of colloid, follicular cells, macrophages and lymphocytes/plasma cells were recorded and scored 0–4 on each case based on TP or CB slide review. The cytologic diagnoses were grouped as follows: cyst, colloid nodule, colloid nodule with cystic change, chronic thyroiditis, atypical/neoplastic and non-diagnostic.


The TP slides had higher diagnostic rate than CB slides. The diagnostic yield was 68% of the TP slides whereas only 24% of the CB slides were diagnostic. Also, only 4 atypical/neoplastic lesions were diagnosed on the TP slides and the corresponding direct smears, while 5 cases of atypical/neoplastic lesions were diagnosed on the smears but could not be diagnosed on the corresponding CB slides. Additionally, the TP slides revealed cytologic features that were not observed on the direct traditional smears of the same case.


In thyroid FNAB cases, TP slide preparation is superior to CB slide preparation and is more likely to have greater cellularity for diagnosis and detect atypical/neoplastic thyroid lesions, particularly those of follicular cell origin. Furthermore, TP slides appear to detect helpful diagnostic cytologic features and should be considered complementary to, rather than replacing, direct smears.



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