FNA Molecular Testing is a biopsy of the cells collected by needle aspiration from the endocrine gland. This is a test that doctors order to know what kind of cells are in the endocrine gland. The molecular lab will take these cells and look at them under a microscope. The lab will then use statistical methodology to measure the gene expression of specific genes while excluding others and calculate the ratios of various proteins inside the cell. This process results in a list of gene mutations, copy number variations, or chromosomal abnormalities found in those cells. Dr. Pedro I. Troya is an experienced endocrinologist at Bay Area Endocrinology Associates who understand the importance of precise and timely diagnosis of endocrine gland conditions. With FNA Molecular Testing, he can provide patients with a comprehensive evaluation of their endocrine nodules, minimizing unnecessary surgeries and ensuring optimal treatment plans.
What are Thyroid Nodules?
Nodules are benign growth of cells that form around the endocrine gland. They primarily develop in the tissues of the endocrine gland and can be found anywhere on the surface and deep in the tissue. Large numbers of nodules can crowd or compress neighboring structures or even cause obstruction in significant structures such as the airway or esophagus. Nodules can vary significantly in size, density, and appearance, but most are seen on ultrasound as solid without any fluid surrounding them.
What is FNA Molecular Testing?
It is a test that diagnoses thyroid gland conditions, such as nodules and cancer. Molecular testing, also known as FNA cytogenetics, is an advanced method of diagnosis for nodules in the endocrine gland. It involves collecting cells from an endocrine nodule through a needle inserted. This process is called FNA, which stands for fine needle aspiration. The cells are then evaluated in a lab under a microscope, where they are examined for what genetic mutations or alterations have occurred. Molecular testing focuses on specific genetic alterations associated with thyroid cancer. Typical markers include mutations in genes such as BRAF, RAS, and RET/PTC rearrangements. These markers help identify the presence of malignancy or predict the risk of malignancy in indeterminate nodules.
FNA Molecular Testing is a minimally invasive procedure in which a doctor uses ultrasound imaging to locate and guide them to the exact area of the nodule and then inserts a needle into the nodule to remove cells. A needle is then inserted into the nodule to collect fluid, which is sent to the molecular lab to extract and analyze its genetic material. Various techniques, such as polymerase chain reaction and next-generation sequencing, are utilized to identify specific genetic alterations.
Benefits of FNA Molecular Testing
FNA Molecular Testing enables doctors to diagnose endocrine conditions and determine if a nodule is benign or malignant. Doctors can then create an action plan to treat the patient, including a simple procedure or surgery and more advanced treatments. With this information, doctors can also develop treatment plans to minimize the toxic impact of cancer on surrounding organs in patients and their families. The FNA is also simple to use, safe, accurate, cost-effective, and painless. Patients benefit from speedier testing that lets them quickly understand what is happening to their thyroid glands.
Interpretation of Results
Interpreting the results of FNA molecular testing requires expertise and collaboration between pathologists, endocrinologists, and other healthcare professionals. A patient’s genetic alteration is considered positive if the gene expression from the malignancy marker exceeds that of adjacent or normal endocrine tissue. If a nonmalignant gene also has an elevated expression, it may be considered nonspecifically reactive. The gene must be compared to its standard counterpart to determine if the alteration is specific or nonspecific.
Difference Between Traditional Diagnostic Methods And FNA Molecular Testing
Molecular testing uses a sample of an endocrine nodule and examines it through molecular analysis. This test is more efficient, accurate, and minimally invasive than other methods of diagnosis, such as traditional biopsy. Traditional cytology allows the doctor to see what percentage of the cells have the mutation. The molecular lab can look at every cell, so there is a better assessment of individual gene mutations with this method. Traditional hormone assays do not identify many genetic alterations associated with endocrine cancer.
When to Get the FNA Molecular Test
If you have been recommended to get an FNA molecular test, it is essential to discuss with your healthcare provider when the best time would be. This test is generally recommended for individuals with a suspicious lump or mass detected during a physical examination or imaging test. The FNA molecular test can help determine if the node is cancerous, which can guide further treatment decisions.
Symptoms of Nodules Disease
Nodules are usually asymptomatic, but some patients may experience symptoms that differ depending on the location and type of endocrine nodule. Common signs and symptoms of nodules include a lump or swelling in the front or neck area, a feeling of heaviness and pressure in the neck or throat, pain or tenderness, difficulty swallowing, enlargement of the endocrine, and hoarseness. More frequent bowel movements and changes in bowel habits may also be present.
Thyroid FNA Molecular Testing is a method to detect and diagnose thyroid cancer. A doctor can perform a physical exam, imaging studies, and cytology tests to determine if you need testing, such as a biopsy or the FNA molecular test. This test can be performed safely on patients without anesthesia, sedation, or overnight hospital admissions. FNA Molecular Testing is a highly accurate and cost-effective method to detect endocrine nodules. It can diagnose malignancy, indeterminate nodules, or other endocrine conditions.