BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: The purpose of the study is to describe the anatomoclinical, diagnostic, therapeutic and prognostic aspects of pediatric follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) in order to choose the best therapeutic strategy.
METHODS: Our study includes patients ≤18 years old surgically treated for FTC in four Italian Pediatric Surgery Centers from January 2000 to March 2017. The collected data were compared with those of 132 patients matched for age with a histological diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) surgically treated in the same institutions during the same period and with the data of patients diagnosed with FTC found in the literature; p-values <0.05 were considered significant.
RESULTS: 21 (70%) of the 30 patients with a histological diagnosis of FTC underwent hemithyroidectomy while 9 (30%) underwent total thyroidectomy. 11 (55%) out of 21 patients were subjected to a completion of thyroidectomy. All patients are alive (OS = 100%) without recurrence or relapse of the disease. Compared with PTC, FTC is significant for capsule infiltration (p < 0.0001), vascular invasion (p = 0.0014) and T-stage T3-T4 (p = 0.013). However, multifocality (p < 0.001), extrathyroid extension (p < 0.0001) and lymph node metastasis (p < 0.0001) are more evident in PTC.
CONCLUSION: The conservative approach seems to be a valid surgical treatment for pediatric patients diagnosed with MI-FTC. For patients with wide vascular invasion and/or a tumor >4 cm, especially with high after-surgery Tg rate, a completion of thyroidectomy is recommended. In patients with multifocal neoplasia, and/or tumor size ≥4 cm, and/or extrathyroid extension, and/or lymph node metastasis, and/or distant metastasis, total thyroidectomy followed by radioiodine therapy is generally indicated.
LEVELS OF EVIDENCE: II.