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Are Papillary Microcarcinomas of the Thyroid Gland Revealed by Cervical Adenopathy More Aggressive?

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Therapeutic attitudes for papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) range from observation alone to aggressive management. Clinicopathologic features, therapeutic options, and follow-up results are described in a series of PTMC revealed by cervical adenopathies. Twelve patients were enrolled in this retrospective study. They were all treated by total/near-total thyroidectomy with dissection of suspect cervical lymph nodes followed by radioactive iodine (RAI) and suppressive L-thyroxine therapies. Mean age at diagnosis was 32 years with a mean elapsed time to diagnosis of 45.3 months. Fine needle aspiration cytology and excisional biopsy of the lymph node led to a diagnosis in all cases. Cervical mass was ipsilateral to primary tumor in six patients (50%). Multifocality, bilaterality, and capsular invasion were encountered in 66.7, 66.7, and 41.7 per cent of patients, respectively. Lymph node involvement was bilateral in seven patients (58.3%) of whom thyroid foci were unilateral in two. No complications of thyroidectomy were encountered. At 60-month-follow up, no recurrence or metastasis was noted. PTMC revealed by cervical lymph node metastasis shows aggressive clinicopathologic features. They must be considered as papillary thyroid cancers and managed by total/near-total thyroidectomy with bilateral lymph node exploration followed by RAI therapy and suppressive L-thyroxine doses.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of General Surgery, Hotel-Dieu de France Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Saint-Joseph University, Beirut, Lebanon

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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