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To identify the prognostic significance of specific lymph node related characteristics for disease persistence and recurrence in patients with pre- or intra-operative evidence of neck metastases and no other risk factors.
Method and results
Sixty-eight patients were identified; 50 per cent had persistent or recurrent disease. All underwent the same treatment strategy. There were no statistically significant differences in any of the patient- or tumour-related parameters when patients with and without persistence or recurrence were compared. Patients with recurrent or persistent disease had significantly larger (>3 cm) metastatic lymph nodes, but there were no differences regarding other lymph node related parameters (i.e. number, extracapsular extension, number of lymph nodes with extracapsular extension, and central vs lateral neck location). On multivariate analysis, however, none of the parameters were predictive of persistent or recurrent disease.
In papillary thyroid carcinoma patients with no other risk factors, pre- or intra-operative evidence of cervical metastases was associated with a very high rate of disease persistence or recurrence. Specific lymph node characteristics were not shown to have prognostic significance.
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