Initial results from a prospective cohort study of 5583 cases of thyroid carcinoma treated in the united states during 1996. U.S. and German Thyroid Cancer Study Group. An American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Patient Care Evaluation study

Cancer. 2000 Jul 1;89(1):202-17. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20000701)89:1<202::aid-cncr27>;2-a.


Background: The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) has conducted national Patient Care Evaluation (PCE) studies since 1976.

Methods: Over 1500 hospitals with CoC-approved cancer programs were invited to participate in this prospective cohort study of U.S. thyroid carcinoma cases treated in 1996. Follow-up will be conducted through the National Cancer Data Base.

Results: Of the 5584 cases of thyroid carcinoma, 81% were papillary, 10% follicular, 3.6% Hürthle cell, 0.5% familial medullary, 2.7% sporadic medullary, and 1.7% undifferentiated/anaplastic. Demographics and suspected risk factors were analyzed. Fine-needle aspiration of the thyroid gland (53%) or a neck lymph node (7%), thyroid nuclear scan (39%), and ultrasound (38%) constituted the most frequently utilized diagnostic modalities. The vast majority of patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma presented with American Joint Committee on Cancer Stage I and II disease and relatively small tumors. For all histologies, near-total or total thyroidectomy constituted the dominant surgical treatment. No lymph nodes were examined in a substantial proportion of cases. Residual tumor after the surgical event could be documented in 11% of cases, hypocalcemia in 10% of cases, and recurrent laryngeal nerve injury in 1.3% of cases. Complications were most frequently associated with total thyroidectomy combined with lymph node dissection. Thirty-day mortality was 0.3%; when undifferentiated/anaplastic cancer cases were eliminated, it decreased to 0.2%. Adjuvant treatment, probably underreported in this study, consisted of hormonal suppression (50% overall) and radioiodine (50% overall).

Conclusions: In addition to offering information concerning risk factors and symptoms, the current PCE study compliments the survival information from previous NCDB reports and offers a surveillance snapshot of current management of thyroid carcinoma in the U.S. Identified opportunities for improvement of care include 1) more frequent use of fine-needle aspiration cytology in making a diagnosis; 2) more frequent use of laryngoscopy in evaluating patients preoperatively, especially those with voice change; and 3) improved lymph node resection and analysis to improve staging and, in some situations, outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome