Thyroglossal Duct Cyst Carcinoma: A Systematic Review of Clinical Features and Outcomes

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 May;156(5):794-802. doi: 10.1177/0194599817696504. Epub 2017 Mar 21.


Objective Although thyroglossal duct cysts (TGDCs) are relatively common, malignancies within these lesions are infrequent. As a result, there are no large-scale series describing clinical characteristics. Our objectives were to perform a systematic review of the literature evaluating patient demographics, pathology, management, and prognosis of these patients. Data Sources PubMed, Embase, Cochrane reviews, and Google Scholar were searched for relevant articles. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were reviewed for data detailing epidemiology, treatment, and outcomes. Review Methods Inclusion criteria included English-language articles with original reports on human subjects. Two investigators independently reviewed all articles for the data collected, including epidemiology, treatment, and outcomes. Results Ninety-eight articles comprising 164 patients were included in the final analysis. The mean age at presentation was 39.5 years (9-83 years); 68.3% of patients were female. In total, 73.3% of cases were found on final pathologic analysis. The most common pathology was papillary cancer (92.1%). Of the patients, 98.9% underwent a Sistrunk procedure and 61.0% underwent total thyroidectomy. There was a 4.3% recurrence rate with a mean time to recurrence of 42.1 months from initial treatment. One patient died of TGDC carcinoma, while all other patients were disease free at the time of last follow-up (mean follow-up was 46.1 months). Conclusion TGDC carcinoma is typically diagnosed on final pathology. While management encompasses a Sistrunk procedure, further consideration should be given to thyroidectomy among patients ≥45 years of age and individuals with aggressive disease. TGDC carcinoma harbors an exceedingly low rate of mortality.

Keywords: Sistrunk procedure; papillary carcinoma; thyroglossal duct cyst carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / surgery*
  • Child
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / parasitology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thyroglossal Cyst / mortality
  • Thyroglossal Cyst / pathology*
  • Thyroglossal Cyst / surgery*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / mortality
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Thyroidectomy / methods
  • Thyroidectomy / mortality
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult