The use of fine needle aspiration cytology detected papillary carcinoma in two patients with multinodular goitre measuring 0.7 cm and 0.9 cm in diameter, respectively. Like most of the cases from previous large series, the tumours progressed slowly as shown by absence of enlarged glands on surgical exploration and no clinical signs of metastasis after two and five years of follow up. This study shows that aspiration cytology can detect a virtually harmless occult papillary carcinoma that will oblige patients to have surgery. This very occasional "pitfall" of fine needle aspiration should not preclude this well known beneficial method from being used in the management of thyroid disease.
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