Survival of 86,690 patients with thyroid cancer: A population-based study in 29 European countries from EUROCARE-5

Eur J Cancer. 2017 May;77:140-152. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2017.02.023. Epub 2017 Apr 11.


Background: Incidence rates of thyroid cancer (TC) increased in several countries during the last 30 years, while mortality rates remained unchanged, raising important questions for treatment and follow-up of TC patients. This study updates population-based estimates of relative survival (RS) after TC diagnosis in Europe by sex, country, age, period and histology.

Methods: Data from 87 cancer registries in 29 countries were extracted from the EUROCARE-5 dataset. One- and 5-year RS were estimated using the cohort approach for 86,690 adult TC patients diagnosed in 2000-2007 and followed-up to 12/31/2008. RS trends in 1999-2007 and 10-year RS in 2005-2007 were estimated using the period approach.

Results: In Europe 2000-2007, 5-year RS after TC was 88% in women and 81% in men. Survival rates varied by country and were strongly correlated (Pearson ρ = 75%) with country-specific incidence rates. Five-year RS decreased with age (in women from >95% at age 15-54 to 57% at age 75+), from 98% in women and 94% in men with papillary TC to 14% in women and 12% in men with anaplastic TC. Proportion of papillary TC varied by country and increased over time, while survival rates were similar across areas and periods. In 1999-2007, 5-year RS increased by five percentage points for all TCs but only by two for papillary and by four for follicular TC. Ten-year RS in 2005-2007 was 89% in women and 79% in men.

Conclusions: The reported increasing TC survival trend and differences by area are mainly explained by the varying histological case-mix of cases.

Keywords: Cancer registries; EUROCARE; Europe; Papillary; Relative survival; Thyroid cancer.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Follicular / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Thyroid cancer, follicular