by Adnan Karavelic MD FRCPC
November 22, 2022
Suspicious for follicular neoplasm is a term pathologists use to describe an abnormal growth in the thyroid gland. It is a preliminary diagnosis that includes both non-cancerous and cancerous conditions.
These conditions include:
In order to determine which of these conditions you have, all the abnormal tissue needs to be removed and examined under a microscope. In particular, the pathologist needs to be able to determine if the abnormal growth is surrounded by a capsule and if the cells inside the growth have crossed the capsule into the surrounding thyroid gland. This examination can only be performed after the entire tumour is removed. Look for the final diagnosis in your pathology report after the tumour is removed.
Not necessarily. Follicular neoplasm is a general term used to describe a group of non-cancerous and cancerous conditions that look similar when only a small part piece of tissue is examined under the microscope.
This diagnosis is usually made after a procedure called a fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). Rarely, this diagnosis is made after the entire growth has been removed along with the surrounding thyroid lobe.
When examined under the microscope, the cells in the tissue sample will look similar to the follicular cells that are normally found in the thyroid gland. The cells usually stick together to form round structures called follicles. However, the follicles in the sample are often smaller than normal follicles. As a result, they are often described as microfollicles. The follicular cells may also be arranged in small groups or even as single-detached cells. Your pathologist may use the term atypical to describe cells that have an abnormal shape, colour, or size compared to normal, healthy, follicular cells. Cells may become atypical as a result of cancer, infection, radiation, medications, or inflammation.