This study determines the performance of virtual touch imaging quantification (VTIQ), a non-invasive shear wave elastography method for measuring thyroid nodule (TN) stiffness, in distinguishing benign from malignant TNs. This prospective study evaluates 707 TNs in 676 patients with fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). Before FNAB, both conventional B-mode ultrasound and shear wave elastography were performed. Surgical resection was recommended for FNAB results that were not clearly benign. Surgical pathology confirmed 82 malignant TNs. The receiver operating curve identified a single cut-off of 3.54 m/s as the maximum shear wave velocity (SWV) for predicting thyroid cancer (TC). The sensitivity and specificity were 79.27% and 71.52%, respectively. Positive predictive value (PPV) was 26.75% and negative predictive value (NPV) was 96.34%. Compared with B-mode US features for predicting malignancy, SWV ≥3.54 m/s has a higher sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV. TN stiffness measured by VTIQ-generated shear wave elastography is an independent predictor of TC.

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