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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Nov 1;104(11):4981-4989. doi: 10.1210/jc.2019-00962.

Thyroid Cancer Patients With No Evidence of Disease: The Need for Repeat Neck Ultrasound.

Author information

1
Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
2
Department of Surgical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
3
Department of Nuclear Medicine and Endocrine Oncology, Gustave Roussy and University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif, France.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Ultrasonography (US) is considered the most sensitive tool for imaging persistent or recurrent papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) in the neck.

OBJECTIVE:

To clarify the usefulness of routine neck US in low- and intermediate-risk patients with PTC with no evidence of disease 1 year after thyroidectomy.

DESIGN:

Retrospective analysis of prospectively recorded data.

SETTING:

Academic center.

PATIENTS:

Two hundred twenty-six patients with PTC with sonographically normal neck lymph nodes and unstimulated serum thyroglobulin (Tg) levels that were either undetectable (<0.20 ng/mL) or low (0.21 to 0.99 ng/mL) at the 1-year evaluation.

INTERVENTIONS:

Yearly assessment: unstimulated serum Tg level, anti-Tg-antibody (TgAb) titer, TSH levels, and ultrasound examination of neck lymph nodes.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Rates of ultrasonographic lymph node abnormalities at the 3-year and last follow-up visits.

RESULTS:

In patients with an undetectable Tg level at the 1-year evaluation, sonographically suspicious neck lymph nodes were found in 1.2% of patients at 3 years and in 1.8% at the last visit [negative predictive values (NPVs) of 1-year Tg < 0.2 ng/mL: 98.8% (95% CI 95.8% to 99.9%) and 98.2% (95% to 99.6%), respectively]. Similar NPVs emerged for low detectable 1-year Tg levels [98.2% (90.3% to 99.9%) and 94.5% (84.9% to 98.9%) at the 3-year and last visits, respectively]. Seventy-five percent of the nodal lesions were likely false positive; none required treatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Low- and intermediate-risk patients with PTC with negative ultrasound findings and unstimulated Tg levels <1 ng/mL at the 1-year evaluation can be safely followed with clinical assessments and unstimulated serum Tg determinations. Neck US might be repeated if TgAb titers rise, or unstimulated Tg levels exceed 1 ng/mL.

PMID:
31206157
DOI:
10.1210/jc.2019-00962

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