Management of local recurrence in well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Leigh S. Hamby, Patrick C. McGrath, Richard W. Schwartz, David A. Sloan, William G. Simpson, Daniel E. Kenady

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25 Scopus citations


Local recurrence of well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma has a reported mortality approaching 50%. The University of Kentucky experience was reviewed to determine whether aggressive surveillance and treatment with reoperation and/or I-131 ablation increased survival following recurrence. Records of 66 consecutive patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma treated at the University of Kentucky Medical Center (1980-1989) were reviewed. Forty-nine cases of papillary carcinoma and 17 cases of follicular carcinoma were studied; median follow-up was 68 months. At presentation, patients with follicular carcinoma were older (48 versus 35 years; P < 0.05) and more frequently had metastatic disease (17% versus 2%, P < 0.05). Fifty-eight (88%) patients were alive and diseasefree at last follow-up. Fifteen patients (24%) had developed recurrent disease; median time to recurrence was 24 months. Multivariate regression examined the variables of age, sex, histology, tumor size, cervical adenopathy, capsular and vascular invasion, multicentricity, and surgical procedure. While distant metastases affected actuarial survival, no factor independently predicted local recurrence. In six patients with local recurrence, nonpalpable disease was detected by I-131 scan. All were treated with ablation and remain disease-free (mean follow-up 42 months). Eight patients with local recurrence presented with palpable lesions; seven underwent surgery. While two patients developed repeated local recurrences, the other five remain diseasefree (mean follow-up 52 months). Early detection and aggressive treatment of local recurrence improve survival in patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma. To facilitate use of I-131, we advise total thyroidectomy for patients with welldifferentiated thyroid carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-117
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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