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Serum thyroglobulin is used as a surrogate marker for well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma recurrence. This study investigates whether thyroglobulin measured at the time of ablative radioactive iodine therapy predicts disease-free survival.
A retrospective review was conducted of patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma presenting from 1989 to 2010 at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, New South Wales, Australia. Disease-free survival of patients with a significantly elevated stimulated thyroglobulin level (27.5 µg/l or higher) at the time of ablative radioactive iodine therapy was compared to that of patients without a significantly elevated thyroglobulin level using univariate analysis.
Patients with a thyroglobulin level of 27.5 µg/l or higher had an increased relative risk of disease recurrence of 4.50 (95 per cent confidence interval = 1.35–15.04). If lateral neck dissection was required at the time of surgery, patients also had an increased relative risk of macroscopic disease recurrence of 4.94 (95 per cent confidence interval = 1.47–16.55).
An elevated thyroglobulin level of 27.5 µg/l or higher at the time of ablative radioactive iodine therapy is a prognostic indicator for macroscopic disease recurrence in well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma.
The incidence of papillary thyroid cancer is rising, with an increase in the number of microcarcinomas being discovered. There is controversy in the literature regarding the optimal management of these tumours. This study aimed to review our institution's experience with the presentation and management of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma.
Retrospective analysis from the Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute, from 1987 to 2009.
A total of 228 patients were analysed. Papillary thyroid microcarcinomas were discovered incidentally in 116 (50.9 per cent) patients and non-incidentally in the remaining 112 (49.1 per cent) patients. Amongst the non-incidental group, 11.6 per cent of patients presented with lateral cervical lymph node involvement. Non-incidental microcarcinomas were significantly associated with younger age (<45 years) (p = 0.007) and larger tumours (5–10 mm) (p < 0.001). Only four patients in the incidental group suffered recurrent disease (locoregional). No patient developed distant metastatic disease or died during follow up.
Papillary thyroid microcarcinomas present both incidentally and non-incidentally, with equal prevalence. Non-incidental tumours not infrequently present with cervical lymph node disease. The patient outcome is generally excellent.
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