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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Jun;91(6):2171-8. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Clinical and histological characteristics of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma: results of a retrospective study in 243 patients.

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  • 1Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, Boston Medical Center, 88 East Newton Street, Evans 201, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA. elizabeth.pearce@bmc.org



The recognition of thyroid microcarcinoma has increased due to the widespread use of ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsies.


The objective of this study was to describe histological and clinical characteristics of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) less than or equal to 1 cm.


This study was a retrospective cohort.


This study was conducted at a university hospital endocrine clinic.


Over a 9-yr period, 243 consecutive patients with PTMC were studied.


PTMC was an incidental finding at surgery in 21.4% of the PTMC cases. There were no differences in the clinical characteristics between those with incidental PTMC and those with suspected thyroid carcinoma. None of the patients with a cancer less than 8 mm had distant metastases, whereas distant metastases were observed in patients with cancers >/= 8 mm (P </= 0.05). Disease-related mortality was not observed.


PTMC is prevalent in the population. Among patients with PTMC, tumor size more than 8 mm is associated with more aggressive disease.

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