Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation of Thyroid Carcinomas Ineligible for Surgery, in the Elderly

Curr Oncol. 2023 Aug 6;30(8):7439-7449. doi: 10.3390/curroncol30080539.


Thirty to 50% of differentiated thyroid carcinomas include papillary thyroid microcarcinomas (mPTC). Most of these tumors remain clinically silent, have a bright prognosis and a disease-specific mortality <1%. Surgery has been recommended as first line-treatment by current guidelines, the standard treatment being lobectomy. However, surgery has some drawbacks, including potential recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis, hypothyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, in -patient basis hospital stay, lifelong medication, scarring of the neck, and general anesthesia related risks. Moreover, elderly patients who present severe comorbidities, could be ineligible for surgery, and others may refuse invasive surgery. Another option supported by the American Thyroid Association is active surveillance. This option can be considered as unattractive and difficult to accept by European patients, as there is a 2-6% risk of disease progression. Percutaneous image-guided thermal ablation has been successfully applied in the treatment of liver and lung tumors in the 1990s and 2000s; and has recently been proposed as an alternative to surgery in patients presenting with thyroid diseases. This minimally invasive treatment has similar efficacy, fewer complications, better quality of life and cosmetic outcomes than surgery. We report herein two cases of radiofrequency ablation of mPTC and T2 PTC in elderly patients who were ineligible for surgery.

Keywords: PET-CT; active surveillance; contrast enhanced ultrasound; papillary thyroid microcarcinoma; percutaneous radiofrequency; thermal ablation; thyroid carcinoma; thyroid incidentaloma; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma*
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Papillary*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / surgery

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.