Afirma® Thyroid Analysis

Fine needle aspiration (FNA) / Afirma Thyroid FNA Analysis is a simple way to examine the cells of a thyroid nodule. First, one of our radiologists will perform a Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) under the guidance of ultrasound and a very thin needle (smaller than one used to draw blood) is used to extract the cells of the nodule. We send the cells to Veracyte, a cytopathology lab in San Francisco, whose cytopathologists specialize in thyroid pathology, where they perform the latest in thyroid cancer analysis. The Afirma Thyroid FNA Analysis, is used to assess whether a lump (nodule) on your thyroid gland is likely to be benign or malignant (cancerous). Although most thyroid nodules are benign, the only way to be sure is to look closely at the cells that make up your nodule.

Afirma analysis goes one step beyond traditional cytopathology when results are indeterminate. Using a gene expression classifier (approved for clinical use in 2010), Veracyte assesses the DNA of the nodule. The activity level of 142 genes is measured within each nodule and then the nodule is classified as either benign (risk of cancer less than 6%) or suspicious for cancer. Before Afirma™, the majority of patients with indeterminate results were recommended to have surgery even though only a fraction of their nodules would ultimately be deemed malignant. The Molecular Classifier is the preventive answer to “indeterminate” results and is only available from Veracyte. This saves health care costs and unnecessary surgeries.