Background: Papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients with ipsilateral neck metastatic lymph node (LN) and those with contralateral neck metastatic LN belong to N1b. Only a few studies have reported on comparisons with regard to laterality of metastatic lateral LN. The aim of this study was to evaluate predictive factors for contralateral neck LN metastasis and to determine prognostic factors for recurrence in PTC patients with N1b.
Methods: This retrospective study reviewed the medical records of 390 PTC patients who underwent total thyroidectomy and central LN dissection plus ipsilateral or bilateral modified radical neck dissection (MRND) between January 2004 and December 2012.
Results: During a median follow-up of 81 (range, 6-156) months, 84 patients had a recurrence in any lesion. Male gender, a main tumor of more than 2 cm, number of metastatic central LN, number of harvested and metastatic lateral LN, total LN ratio, multifocality, bilaterality, and gross ETE had significance in the patients who underwent bilateral MRND. In multivariate analysis according to recurrence, patients with LN ratio > 0.44 in the central compartment (hazard ratio [HR], 1.890; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.124-3.178; p = 0.015), LN ratio > 0.29 in the lateral compartment (HR, 2.351; 95% CI, 1.477-3.743; p < 0.001), and multifocality (HR, 1.583; 95% CI, 1.030-2.431; p = 0.036) were associated with worse RFS. However, the type of MRND was statistically significant only in univariate analysis.
Conclusions: Recurrence in N1b PTC patients is predicted by central neck LN ratio > 0.44, lateral neck LN ratio > 0.29, and multifocality of tumors. We suggest that patients with these factors should receive short-term follow-up using image modalities like ultrasonography and computed tomography.
Keywords: Modified radical neck dissection; Papillary thyroid cancer; Recurrence.