Papillary thyroid carcinoma of childhood and adolescence: A 30-year experience at the istituto nazionale tumori in Milan

Paola Collini, Maura Massimino, Silvia Fagundes Leite, Franco Mattavelli, Ettore Seregni, Nicola Zucchini, Filippo Spreafico, Andrea Ferrari, Maria Rita Castellani, Giulio Cantù, Franca Fossati-Bellani, Juan Rosai

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Background. Survival rates are reportedly excellent for papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) in childhood/adolescence, despite their strong tendency to spread. The aim of this study was to verify this assumption in a single-institution series spanning a 30-year period with a very long follow-up. Procedure. From 1968 to 2001, 74 cases of thyroid carcinoma were collected. The papillary histological type was confirmed in 42 cases with available slides; we recorded the sex, age at diagnosis, age of menarche, tumor side and size, TNM/pTNM classification, multicentricity, vascular invasion, type of surgery, post-operative complications, post-surgical therapies and outcome up to May 31, 2004. Results. The female/male ratio was 2.2; pT4, pN1 and M1 cases were 52%, 95%, and 12% (four in lungs and one in bone), respectively. Total thyroidectomy was performed in 33 patients, hemithyroidectomy in 8, and a biopsy in 1 inoperable case. Nine patients (21%) relapsed, six in the cervical lymph nodes and three in the lungs. After a median follow-up of 189 months, all patients were alive, two of them with evidence of disease. Overall and progression-free survival curves were independent of sex, age, TNM/pTNM classification, or type of surgery. Overall survival was also independent of recurrence. Conclusions. Unlike its adult counterpart, PTC of childhood and adolescence is a cancer with a high frequency of spread, but an excellent outcome irrespective of sex, age at diagnosis, TNM/pTNM classification, type of surgery, recurrence. Since pediatric PTCs proved highly responsive to hormone manipulation, it is worth considering a different therapeutic approach from adult cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Blood and Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Age
  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Pediatric age
  • Prognosis
  • Statistics
  • Therapy
  • Thyroid carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology


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