Context: Most papillary thyroid microcarcinomas (PTMCs; </= 1 cm diameter) are indolent low-risk tumors, but some cases behave more aggressively. Controversies have thus arisen over the optimum postoperative surveillance of PTMC patients. Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that clinical criteria could be used to identify PTMC patients with very low mortality/recurrence risks and attempted to define the best strategy for their management and long-term surveillance. Design: We retrospectively analyzed data from 312 consecutively diagnosed PTMC patients with T1N0M0 stage disease, no family history of thyroid cancer, no history of head-neck irradiation, unifocal PTMC, no extracapsular involvement, and classic papillary histotypes. Additional inclusion criteria were complete follow-up data from surgery to at least 5 yr after diagnosis. All 312 had undergone (near) total thyroidectomy [with radioactive iodine (RAI) remnant ablation in 137 (44%) - RAI group] and were followed up yearly with cervical ultrasonography and serum thyroglobulin, TSH, and thyroglobulin antibody assays. Results: During follow-up (5-23 yr, median 6.7 yr), there were no deaths due to thyroid cancer or reoperations. The first (6-12 months after surgery) and last postoperative cervical sonograms were negative in all cases. Final serum thyroglobulin levels were undetectable (<1 ng/ml) in all RAI patients and almost all (93%) of non-RAI patients. Conclusion: Accurate risk stratification can allow safe follow-up of most PTMC patients with a less intensive, more cost-effective protocol. Cervical ultrasonography is the mainstay of this protocol, and negative findings at the first postoperative examination are highly predictive of positive outcomes.

Identification and Optimal Postsurgical Follow-Up of Patients with Very Low-Risk Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinomas



Context: Most papillary thyroid microcarcinomas (PTMCs;
Endocrinology; Thyroid; Oncology; Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinomas
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