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Keywords:

  • distant metastases;
  • follicular thyroid carcinoma;
  • prognostic factors;
  • radioiodine

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The objective of this study was to investigate the patterns of recurrence, various prognostic factors, and the role of radioiodine in the treatment of patients with follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC).

METHODS

The clinical outcomes of 215 patients with FTC who were treated at a single institution were analyzed retrospectively. The mean follow-up was 10.8 years.

RESULTS

The actuarial rates of cause specific survival (CSS), locoregional (LR) control, and freedom from distant metastasis (DM) at 10 years were 81%, 83%, and 72.3%, respectively. The independent prognostic factors for survival were metastasis at presentation (relative risk [RR], 47.7), radioiodine (RAI) treatment (RR, 0.25), extrathyroidal extension (RR, 3.8), and the postoperative absence of macroscopic disease in the neck region (RR, 0.06). In patients who were treated with RAI, both the LR failure rate (RR, 0.24) and the mortality rate (RR, 0.25) were reduced to about 25%. Subgroup analysis revealed that RAI improved the survival of patients with DM at presentation (RR, 0.17) and improved the LR control rate in patients who had no DM at presentation (RR, 0.13). For patients who underwent total thyroidectomy with negative resection margins, RAI significantly reduced the rate of LR recurrence (RR, 0.05). Patients with the minimally invasive type of FTC had a good prognosis. The 10-year rates for CSS, LR control, and freedom from DM were 97.6%, 100%, and 90.6%, respectively. The prognosis of patients with frankly invasive FTC was much poorer. The 10-year rates for CSS, LR control, and freedom from DM were 66.7%, 100%, and 45%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

RAI is an effective treatment for patients with FTC. It was associated with improved survival rates and fewer recurrences. Cancer 2002;95:488–98. © 2002 American Cancer Society.

DOI 10.1002/cncr.10683