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Cancer Frequency in Retrosternal Goiter

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Retrosternal goiter prevalence is 5 to 40 per cent according to classifications in goiter series. Goiters with mediastinal extension were reported to be related with higher cancer rates. In our study, we aimed to investigate whether cancer incidence increased in retrosternal goiters compared with the cervical ones. Three hundred and ninety consecutive patients, who had surgery because of retrosternal goiter in Istanbul University Medical Faculty Department of General Surgery between 2005 and 2015 were included in the study (Group 1). Control group included 880 patients who had surgery because of nontoxic multinodular goiter in the same period (Group 2). Preoperative ultrasonography (USG) was performed to each patient. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy was performed in suspicious nodules and results were recorded. Carcinomas in histopathological examination were classified as intrathorasic and extrathorasic. Diagnostic rates of USG results were compared with histopathologic cancer results. Papillary carcinoma was diagnosed in 76 patients with retrosternal goiter (19%) and in 200 patients in the control group (22%). No statistically significant difference was detected between groups regarding the tumor rates (P > 0.05). One hundred and forty-four tumoral foci were detected in 76 patients with papillary carcinoma in retrosternal goiter patients. Three hundred and seventy tumoral foci were detected in 200 patients with papillary carcinoma in the control group. In the retrosternal goiter group, 104 carcinoma lesions of 144 papillary carcinomas were intrathorasic (72%). No statistically significant difference was detected between intrathorasic (2.1 ± 1 cm) and extrathorasic regiones (1.9 ± 0.8 cm) regarding the tumor size P > 0.05. When patients with and without cancer in the retrosternal goiter group were compared regarding familial thyroid cancer history, radiation to the neck, and cervical adenopathy, no statistically significant difference was detected. Cancer incidence of retrosternal goiters was not higher than that of the cervical ones. Yet, cancer foci of retrosternal goiters were commonly located in the intrathorasic area and were not detected with USG. Depending on these findings, we suggest that all retrosternal goiters should be surgically treated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of General Surgery, Bakirkoy Dr. Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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