Background. Hurtle cell carcinomas of the thyroid are unusual variants of well-differentiated thyroid cancers. Considered more aggressive tumors, their optimal treatment is controversial. Our institution's half century of experience, the largest series to date, includes 40 patients with Hurthle cell carcinomas of 1000 well-differentiated thyroid cancers. Methods. A retrospective study was carried out on 40 patients. Results: Seventy-two percent were female, with a median age of 53 years. Median follow-up was 9 years. With the AMES risk stratification (age, distant metastasis, capsular extent, tumor size), among the 21 high-risk patients, 10 (48%) had a recurrence or died, with median time to recurrence 3 years (range, 0.5 to 14 years). Of these 10, 5 died of disease, one died of unrelated causes with disease, and 4 are alive with disease. Five recurrences presented as distant metastases. Extent at operation was the strongest predictor of recurrence, occurring in 66% of those with gross extraglandular involvement. Conclusions. The AMES criteria are useful in predicting recurrence and death. Although more aggressive surgery is appropriate for high-risk patients, in general their outlook remains grim.
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