Extrathyroidal Extension is an Important Predictor of Regional Lymph Node Metastasis in Pediatric Differentiated Thyroid Cancer.
Year of Publication
2019 Oct 01
<p>The American Joint Committee Cancer (AJCC) TNM system predicts survival in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). In the eighth edition of the AJCC TNM, microscopic extrathyroidal extension (microETE) was removed and tumor size >4 cm was maintained in the definition of T3 disease to reduce unnecessarily aggressive therapy for adults at low risk of death from DTC. In pediatric patients where DTC survival rates are high, the AJCC TNM is used to identify patients at increased risk of persistent, postsurgical disease, to identify patients who benefit from radioactive iodine therapy. The aim of this study was to assess the correlation of microETE with cervical lymph node (LN) metastasis in pediatric patients and to determine if tumor size or microETE is more informative in predicting regional LN disease. Patients with DTC <19 years of age at the time of thyroidectomy with AJCC T3 tumors (seventh edition) and the presence of LNs on the surgical specimen were included in this retrospective chart review. Pathological findings were confirmed by pathologist review. Forty-five patients with AJCC T3 designation were included, 34 with microETE and 11 without microETE. Of those with microETE, 32 (94.1%) demonstrated regional LN metastasis compared with 5/11 patients (45.5%) without microETE ( = 0.001). In addition, microETE was associated with lateral neck LN metastasis ( = 0.004), bilateral disease ( = 0.001), and tumor multifocality ( = 0.003). Patients with microETE had smaller tumors (median = 2.5 cm, interquartile range [IQR]: 1.6-4.5) compared with patients without microETE (median = 5 cm, IQR: 4.2-5.4; = 0.02). No increased association was found between microETE and vascular invasion, distant metastasis, or persistent/recurrent disease. In pediatric patients with DTC, microETE is a strong predictor of LN metastasis when compared with tumor size. For patients who do not undergo prophylactic central neck LN dissection, the presence of microETE predicts an increased risk of postsurgical disease and should be included in future revisions of the American Thyroid Association pediatric risk stratification categories.</p>