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J Korean Surg Soc. 2013 Jul;85(1):15-9. doi: 10.4174/jkss.2013.85.1.15. Epub 2013 Jun 26.

Clinical implications of preoperative thyrotropin serum concentrations in patients who underwent thyroidectomy for nonfunctioning nodule(s).

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Department of Surgery, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Cheongju, Korea.



Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) measurement is the most sensitive screening test for thyroid dysfunction. TSH is a well-known thyroid growth factor but its pathogenic role in thyroid oncogenesis remains to be clarified. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between clinicopathologic characteristics of nonfunctioning thyroid nodules and preoperative TSH serum concentrations.


Serum TSH concentrations can be affected by many factors. After exclusion of these confounding factors, a total of 126 patients who underwent thyroidectomy from Januray 2009 to December 2010 were included in this study. Average age was 45.4 ± 10.6 years and male:female ratio was 1:2.9. There were 11 patients with benign nodules, 34 patients with papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) of less than 5 mm in maximal diameter, 66 patients with PTMCs of more than 5 mm but not more than 10 mm in maximal diameter, and 15 patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) of more than 10 mm in maximal diameter.


TNM stages of PTCs correlated with higher preoperative TSH serum concentrations. There were trends of higher preoperative TSH serum concentrations in patients who had extrathyroidal extension (P = 0.059) and advanced N stages (P = 0.120) but did not reach statistical significance. Patients' age, sex, and tumor volume did not seem to affect preoperative TSH serum concentrations significantly.


In patients who have PTCs without clinical, immunological, or ultrasonographic evidence of thyroiditis, higher preoperative TSH serum concentrations within the normal range might suggest advanced TNM stages.


Papillary thyroid carcinoma; TNM stage; Thyroid nodule; Thyroid stimulating hormone

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