Author(s): AlSaif O, Farrar WB, Bloomston M, Porter K, Ringel MD,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to determine the outcome of surgical resection of metastatic papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in cervical lymph nodes after failure of initial surgery and I(131) therapy. DESIGN: This was a retrospective clinical study. SETTING: The study was conducted at a university-based tertiary cancer hospital. PATIENTS: A cohort of 95 consecutive patients with recurrent/persistent PTC in the neck underwent initial reoperation during 1999-2005. All had previous thyroidectomy (+/-nodal dissection) and I(131) therapy. Twenty-five patients with antithyroglobulin (Tg) antibodies were subsequently excluded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Biochemical complete remission (BCR) was stringently defined as undetectable TSH-stimulated serum Tg. RESULTS: A total of 107 lymphadenectomies were undertaken in these 70 patients through January 2010. BCR was initially achieved in 12 patients (17\%). Of the 58 patients with detectable postoperative Tg, 28 had a second reoperation and BCR was achieved in five (18\%), seven had a third reoperation, and none achieved BCR. No patient achieving BCR had a subsequent recurrence after a mean follow-up of 60 months (range 4-116 months). In addition, two more patients achieved BCR during long-term follow-up without further intervention. In total, 19 patients (27\%) achieved BCR and 32 patients (46\%) achieved a TSH-stimulated Tg less than 2.0 ng/ml. Patients who did not achieve BCR had significant reduction in Tg after the first (P < 0.001) and second (P = 0.008) operations. No patient developed detectable distant metastases or died from PTC. CONCLUSIONS: Surgical resection of persistent PTC in cervical lymph nodes achieves BCR, when most stringently defined, in 27\% of patients, sometimes requiring several surgeries. No biochemical or clinical recurrences occurred during follow-up. In patients who do not achieve BCR, Tg levels were significantly reduced. The long-term durability and impact of this intervention will require further investigation.
This article was published in J Clin Endocrinol Metab
and referenced in Atherosclerosis: Open Access