Evidence and controversies in management of thyroglossal duct cyst carcinoma

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Apr 1;29(2):113-119. doi: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000699.


Purpose of review: The aim of this study was to analyse the rational of the possible therapeutic approaches to thyroglossal duct cyst carcinomas (TGDCCa), especially in consideration of their potential airway involvement, discussing the most debated issues concerning employment of thyroidectomy, neck dissection and adjuvant treatments.

Recent findings: The literature is unanimous in defining the Sistrunk procedure as the baseline of surgical treatment of TGDCCa, and in equating the vast majority of thyroid-like TGDCCas to classic thyroid cancers from a biological point of view, while the rarer squamous cell carcinomas seem to behave more aggressively. Thyroidectomy, neck dissection and radioactive iodine treatment are considered for high-risk lesions, with the addition of customized partial resection of laryngeal cartilages when airway involvement is encountered. Furthermore, the analysis of thyroid mutational markers has promise for accurate prevision of more aggressive clinical behaviours.

Summary: Even if rare, clinicians should be aware of TGDCCa due to the possibility of incidental diagnosis and, in the case of more advanced clinical scenarios, for its potential airway involvement. Sistrunk procedure combined with thyroidectomy, neck dissection and adjuvant therapy provide excellent results in high-risk patients. Additional study of pathological thyroid markers in TGDCCa is desirable to allow more individualized treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Papillary* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Papillary* / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell*
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Thyroglossal Cyst* / diagnosis
  • Thyroglossal Cyst* / surgery
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy


  • Iodine Radioisotopes