The incidence of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) is rapidly growing, the recorded increase being mainly related to tumors ≤2 cm. The re-classification of tumors >1 and ≤2 cm limited to the thyroid from the T2 to the T1 category triggered some concerns about their best management. In order to identify possible predictors of disease outcome, several clinico-pathological features were analyzed by uni- and multivariate analyses in a retrospective consecutive series of 251 PTCs ≤2 cm. Moreover, since 37% of cases were submitted to prophylactic central compartment node dissection (CLND, VI-VII levels) and radioiodine ablation was performed only when the tumor had an extrathyroidal extension, the impact of these therapeutic tools on the final outcome was evaluated. Among all outcome predictors analyzed, only lymph node metastases and extracapsular invasion were strongly associated with persistence/recurrence. It is worth noting that neither age nor tumor size was a significant indicator of the outcome. Interestingly, as far as the therapeutic interventions are concerned, CLND was strongly associated with remission, whereas radioiodine ablation did not influence the outcome. In conclusion, present results confirm the prognostic influence of node metastases and extra-thyroidal invasion, indicating the need for aggressive treatment in tumors extending beyond the capsule. On the contrary, all pT1N0 tumors, regardless of the diameter, the number of intrathyroidal foci, and the age can be effectively treated only by surgery. The major impact of prophylactic CLND on prognosis suggests to routinely associate it to total thyroidectomy in cases with a preoperative diagnosis of malignancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism