Background. Prior to 1990s, papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) in childhood/adolescence underwent a standard therapeutic approach (total thyroidectomy plus elective neck dissection, followed by radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation), with an overall survival of about 100%. The aim of this study is to outline the possibility of a conservative approach (hemithyroidectomy plus selective neck dissection of clinically involved nodes, followed by TSH-suppressive therapy) in a selected group of patients. Procedure. From 1968 to 2001, 42 pediatric PTC patients were treated at our institution. Absence of distant metastases and a tumor clinically limited to one lobe were both present in 28 cases that underwent a radical (20 cases) or a conservative (8 cases) surgical approach at the thyroid level. At cervical node level, 10 patients underwent a radical and 32 a conservative surgical approach. Clinicopathologic features at onset, type of therapy (radical vs. conservative), post-operative complications, and outcome till May 31, 2004 were recorded. The impact of the type of surgery on outcome was evaluated. Results. Overall and progression-free survival (PFS) curves were found to be independent of the type of therapy (radical vs. conservative) in subgroups of patients matched for extent of disease at onset. Post-operative complications occurred only with radical surgical approaches. Conclusions. Childhood and adolescence PTCs show a high rate of spread but an excellent outcome independent of the type of therapy (radical vs. conservative). Taking into account the marked responsiveness to TSH-suppression and the complications after radical therapy, in selected cases, a conservative approach should be considered, reserving more aggressivetherapies in case of metastases or relapse.
- Papillary thyroid carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health