Does Locally Advanced Thyroid Cancer Have Different Features? Results from a Single Academic Center

J Pers Med. 2022 Feb 5;12(2):221. doi: 10.3390/jpm12020221.


Background: Despite the fact that the majority of thyroid cancers are indolent, 15% of patients with well-differentiated carcinoma including papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) present with locally advanced thyroid cancer (LATC) at diagnosis. The current study analyzes a cohort of patients with LATC focusing on their risk for local recurrence, distant metastases, and overall survival.

Materials and methods: From January 2010 to December 2020, 65 patients with LATC were retrieved, including 42 cases with preoperative cytological samples. BRAFV600E and TERT mutations were performed on both cytology and histopathology specimens in this cohort.

Results: Among the 65 cases, 42 (65%) were women. The median age was 60.1 years. Histological diagnoses included 25 (38.4%) with classic PTC and 30 (46.1%) aggressive variants of PTC, mostly tall cell variant (17 cases, 26.1%). Multifocality was seen in 33 cases (50.8%). All patients had nodal metastases. The most common site of extrathyroidal extension was the recurrent laryngeal nerve (69.2%). Staging revealed 21 cases were stage I, none were stage II, 33 were stage III, and 7 were stage IVa and 4 stage IVb. No differences were found between well and poorly/undifferentiated thyroid cancers.

Conclusion: These data suggest that locally advanced thyroid cancers, including variants of PTC, exhibit a more aggressive biological course and should accordingly be more assertively managed.

Keywords: aggressive; cancer; carcinoma; genetic alterations; locally advanced; recurrence; thyroid.