Thyroid carcinoma associated with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: Which policy?




Thyroid carcinoma occurring as a second primary associated with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is unusual. The clinical management of thyroid cancer in such cases has been debated.


Between 1975 and 2004, we collected 33 cases. The associated thyroid carcinoma was diagnosed either during or as a consequence of surgery planned as head and neck cancer treatment.


The associated thyroid carcinoma was never seen to recur. Five-year overall survival was 41%. Disease-free survival after 40 and 66 months was 11.1% and 5.6%, respectively.


We consider the treatment of thyroid cancer to be complete when the thyroid gland, either with or without lymph nodes, has been included in the specimen obtained during surgery for HNSCC. In the group of cases in which associated thyroid carcinoma was only found within the neck lymph nodes and the thyroid gland has not been treated, we discourage further surgical treatment or radioactive iodine therapy. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2006