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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Oct;98(10):3981-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1357. Epub 2013 Jul 24.

Is thyroid cancer recurrence risk increased after transplantation?

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Fédération d'Endocrinologie, Groupement Hospitalier Est, 59 Boulevard Pinel, 69677 Bron Cedex, France.



An increased cancer mortality is reported in transplanted patients.


This multicentric study aimed to investigate the rate of thyroid cancer recurrence after transplantation.


Sixty-eight patients (35 male/33 female) with a history of both thyroid cancer and organ transplantation were recruited via two nationwide French networks. Histological analysis identified 58 papillary (88%), 5 follicular (7.5%), and 3 poorly differentiated cancer cases (4.5 %). Thirty-one patients (52%) presented high recurrence risk tumors. In the 36 patients with thyroid cancer diagnosed after transplantation, the 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) was 74.7% (SE: 7.3%). One patient died after progression of a poorly differentiated cancer. Persistent disease was observed in six high-risk patients. One of them underwent a second transplantation and disease remained stable after 5 years of follow-up. Thyroid cancer had been diagnosed before transplantation in 32 patients. One patient with cystic fibrosis and thyroid lung metastases at the time of lung transplantation underwent a 4-year remission. For the 31 patients in remission at the time of transplantation, the 5-year DFS was 93.1% (SE: 4.8%). Two patients with local recurrence presented subsequent remission. For the entire study population, the 5-year and 9-year DFS were 81.9% (SE: 5.5%) and 75.6% (SE: 7.9%), respectively. Recurrence or persistent disease occurred in patients with high-risk tumors.


The prognosis of thyroid cancer does not seem to be altered by transplantation. This suggests that a history of thyroid cancer should not be considered a contraindication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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