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Non-invasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP) in Mureș County, Romania: Incidence and impact of reclassification over a six-year period (2016-2021)

DOI: 10.2478/amma-2023-0048

Objective: In 2016 a group of expert endocrine pathologists proposed a new terminology, NIFTP (Non-invasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features) for a histological subtype of thyroid carcinoma (encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma, non-invasive type). In this study, we aimed to assess on a retrospective basis the epidemiological trend and overall incidence of NIFTP in Mureș county, Romania, over a six-year period (2016-2021).
Methods: All NIFTPs registered between 2016-2021 in Târgu-Mureş Pathology Departments were reevaluated. NIFTP’s incidence was calculated by dividing the number of NIFTPs with the number of papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs). Further on, we compared NIFTP’s incidence between 2016-2018 with NIFTP’s incidence between 2019-2021, as the diagnostic criteria of NIFTP were revised in 2018.
Results: Forty-six cases of NIFTP were registered in our departments between 2016-2021, resulting in an overall NIFTP incidence of 17.9 % [CI (95%): 7.6-32.5] among the 257 PTCs. When we compared the NIFTP’ incidence between the two study periods (2016-2018 versus 2019-2021), our data revealed that the NIFTP’s overall incidence has dropped from 21.4 % [CI (95%): -14.5-60.1] to 15% [CI (95%): -8.2-43] in the second evaluated period (p=0.034).
Conclusion: The overall NIFTP incidence was low in our departments between 2016-2021. Moreover, NIFTP’s incidence decreased after 2018, following revision of the diagnostic criteria. Our results highlight that very stringent morphologic criteria need to be apply when making a diagnosis of NIFTP, in order to avoid a misdiagnosis and/or an overtreatment of a tumor with indolent behavior.

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