Proposed Risk Stratification and Patterns of Radioactive Iodine Therapy in Malignant Struma Ovarii

Thyroid. 2022 Sep;32(9):1101-1108. doi: 10.1089/thy.2022.0145. Epub 2022 Aug 11.


Introduction: Malignant struma ovarii (MSO) is a rare thyroid cancer arising within an ovarian teratoma. While surgical excision of the primary tumor is widely accepted as standard of care, recommendations for adjuvant treatment of MSO-whether or not to administer radioactive iodine (RAI)-are based largely on case reports and remain debated. In this study, we aimed to propose a risk stratification and analyze RAI utilization patterns in MSO cases. Methods: The National Cancer Database (NCDB) was queried for patients with MSO between 2004 and 2016. Demographic, oncological, and clinicopathologic data were compared between groups using Fisher's exact test. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to estimate overall survival (OS), and variables associated with OS were assessed via univariate Cox regression. We adapted the 2015 American Thyroid Association risk guidelines for MSO patients. We stratified patients into low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups using metastasis, extraovarian extension, lymphovascular invasion, lymph node status, surgical margins, tumor size, and grade. Risk stratification, demographic, oncological, and clinicopathologic data were compared between the groups receiving and not receiving RAI therapy. We then queried the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) 18 registry for patients with MSO between 2000 and 2018 to confirm our risk stratification analysis. Results: In the NCDB analysis, a total of 158 patients were identified, and 19 received RAI. RAI therapy was associated with distant metastasis (p = 0.005) and lymph node status (p = 0.012). Twenty-one NCDB patients were stratified as high risk, and 30% of high-risk patients received RAI. High-risk stratification was associated with decreased OS via univariate Cox regression (hazard ratio = 4.0 [95% confidence interval 1.11-14.26], p = 0.034). In our subsequent analysis using the SEER registry, there were 95 MSO patients, and 18 received RAI. Again, the majority of high-risk patients did not receive RAI, with only 41% of high-risk patients receiving RAI. Conclusions: MSO is a rare malignancy with apparently variable and inconsistent patterns of postoperative RAI administration. The risk stratification described here provides a framework to identify patients potentially at risk for mortality, and utilization of RAI in this group should be studied further.

Keywords: MSO; RAI; malignant struma ovarii; radioactive iodine; risk stratification.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Risk Assessment
  • Struma Ovarii* / pathology
  • Struma Ovarii* / radiotherapy
  • Struma Ovarii* / surgery
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Iodine Radioisotopes