Long-term results of treating with ethanol ablation 15 adult patients with cT1aN0 papillary thyroid microcarcinoma

Ian D. Hay, Robert A. Lee, Suneetha Kaggal, John C. Morris, Marius N. Stan, M. Regina Castro, Vahab Fatourechi, Geoffrey B. Thompson, J. William Charboneau, Carl C. Reading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Currently acceptable management options for patients with adult papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (APTM) range from immediate surgery, either unilateral lobectomy or bilateral lobar resection, to active surveillance (AS). An alternative minimally invasive approach, originally employed for eliminating neck nodal metastases, may be ultrasound-guided percutaneous ethanol ablation (EA). Here we present our experience of definitively treating with EA 15 patients with APTM. Patients and Methods: During 2010 through 2017, the 15 cT1aN0M0 patients selected for EA were aged 36 to 86 years (median, 45 years). Tumor volumes (n = 17), assessed by sonography, ranged from 25 to 375 mm3 (median, 109 mm3). Fourteen of 15 patients had 2 ethanol injections on successive days; total volume injected ranged from 0.45 to 1.80 cc (median, 1.1 cc). All ablated patients were followed with sonography and underwent recalculation of tumor volume and reassessment of tumor perfusion at each follow-up visit. Results: The ablated patients have now been followed for 10 to 100 months (median, 64 months).There were no complications and no ablated patient developed postprocedure recurrent laryngeal nerve dysfunction. All 17 ablated tumors shrank (median 93%) and Doppler flow eliminated. Median tumor volume reduction in 9 identifiable avascular foci was 82% (range, 26%-93%). After EA, 8 tumors (47%) disappeared on sonography after a median of 10 months. During follow-up no new PTM foci and no nodal metastases have been identified. Conclusions: Definitive treatment of APTM by EA is effective, safe, and inexpensive. Our results suggest that, for APTM patients who do not wish neck surgery and are uncomfortable with AS, EA represents a well-tolerated and minimally invasive outpatient management option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Endocrine Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Ethanol ablation
  • Microcarcinoma
  • Morbidity
  • Outcome
  • PTC
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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