Computerized Quantification of Ultrasonic Heterogeneity in Thyroid Nodules

Kuen Yuan Chen, Chiung Nien Chen, Ming Hsun Wu, Ming Chih Ho, Hao Chih Tai, Wen Hong Kuo, Wen Chang Huang, Yu Hsin Wang, Argon Chen, King Jen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


To test whether computerized quantification of ultrasonic heterogeneity can be of help in the diagnosis of thyroid malignancy, we evaluated ultrasonic heterogeneity with an objective and quantitative computerized method in a prospective setting. A total of 400 nodules including 271 benign thyroid nodules and 129 malignant thyroid nodules were evaluated. Patient clinical data were collected, and the grading of heterogeneity on conventional gray-scale ultrasound images was retrospectively reviewed by a thyroid specialist. Quantification of ultrasonic heterogeneity (heterogeneity index, HI) was performed by a proprietary program implemented with methods proposed in this article. HI values differed significantly between benign and malignant nodules, diagnosed by a combination of fine-needle aspiration and surgical pathology results (. p<0.001, area under the curve=0.714). The ultrasonic heterogeneity of these samples, as assessed by an experienced clinician, could not significantly differentiate between benign and malignant thyroid nodules. However, nodules with marked ultrasonic heterogeneity had higher HI values than nodules with homogeneous nodules. These results indicate that the new computer-aided diagnosis method for evaluation of the ultrasonic heterogeneity of thyroid nodules is an objective and quantitative method that is correlated with conventional ultrasonic heterogeneity assessment, but can better aid in the diagnosis of thyroid malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2581-2589
Number of pages9
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Computer-aided diagnosis
  • Heterogeneity index
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid nodule
  • Ultrasonic heterogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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