A woman looks up while a physician examines her throat. A woman looks up while a physician examines her throat.

Veracyte’s approach to improving thyroid cancer diagnosis

About thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment

Thyroid cancer begins in the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. The most common first sign of thyroid cancer is a thyroid nodule. While most thyroid nodules are benign, patients will typically undergo a fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of a thyroid nodule to receive a diagnosis. Each year in the United States, approximately 600,000 FNA biopsies are performed,1 and many of these patients receive indeterminate results, meaning their nodule is not clearly benign or cancerous based on traditional analysis. Historically, most of these patients underwent surgery, even though 70% to 80% of the time their nodule proved to be benign,2-5 indicating the surgery was unnecessary. When thyroid cancer is found, treatment will vary, depending on a number of factors, including the type of cancer and whether it is likely to be aggressive.

Veracyte is committed to developing tests that help patients get the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment based on the molecular makeup of their thyroid nodules.


patients are evaluated for suspected thyroid cancer annually.1


patients have an indeterminate or suspicious-for-cancer diagnosis annually.6


Learn about our exceptional thyroid cancer diagnostics.

Identifying unmet needs through listening and collaboration

At Veracyte, we listen to and collaborate with leading thyroid experts and our customers to understand what unmet needs our tests should ideally address. In thyroid cancer, we knew that many patients could avoid unnecessary surgery if we could develop a test to help resolve uncertain FNA biopsy results. We focused on this opportunity to improve patient care.

Now, new research continues to deepen our collective understanding of thyroid cancer and its underlying biology in ways that can ultimately help to further personalize treatment for patients with suspicious thyroid nodules. We plan to continue to evolve our Afirma offering to address the patient-care needs of today and the opportunities of tomorrow.

Thyroid nodule diagnosis is often challenging, which can lead to uncertainty, heightened anxiety, and unnecessary surgery for patients. Genomic testing can arm physicians with better information to help conclusively rule out surgery and confidently guide treatment for their patients.”

Medical Director for Endocrinology, Veracyte

A physician gently feels a patient’s neck to check the thyroid.


Clearer diagnosis and treatment planning with Afirma® Genomic Sequencing Classifier (GSC)

Veracyte developed the Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier to help physicians personalize thyroid cancer diagnosis and treatment decisions for their patients with thyroid nodules. Based on RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing and advanced machine-learning technology, the test identifies patients who do not have cancer when traditional testing fails to provide conclusive results. These patients may potentially avoid unnecessary surgery. When thyroid cancer is suspected, the test uses the largest panel of expressed gene alterations available to help inform treatment decisions.

A woman doing yoga.

Learn about Afirma GSC for thyroid cancer


  1. Company estimates.

  2. Polavarapu P, et al. Journal of Endo Soc. 2021.

  3. Melilo RM, et al. JCEM. 2012.

  4. Cibas ES, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2013.

  5. Cibas ES, et al. Thyroid. 2017.

  6. Company estimates based on Bethesda criteria of B-III/IV and B-V/VI in the US only.

The Afirma Genomic Sequencing Classifier is available in the US as part of Veracyte’s CLIA-validated laboratory developed test (LDT) service. This test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA.

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