Papillary thyroid carcinoma in children and adults: Long-term follow-up of 1039 patients conservatively treated at one institution during three decades

Donald Zimmerman, Ian D. Hay, Ian R. Gough, John R. Goellner, John J. Ryan, Clive S. Grant, William M. McConahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

268 Scopus citations

Abstract

Fifty-eight children (18 boys, 40 girls) less than 17 years of age, undergoing initial surgery because of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) at Mayo Clinic from 1946 through 1975 and followed up for a median time of 27.6 years were compared with 981 adults (323 men, 658 women) treated during the same period and followed up for a median period of 19.5 years. At initial evaluation, mean tumor size (±SD) was greater in children (3.1 ± 1.7 cm) than in adults (2.1 ± 1.7 cm) (p < 0.001); tumor DNA content was nondiploid in 10% of 39 children and in 25% of 110 adults (p = 0.047). Neck node metastases at diagnosis were detected in more children (89.7%) than adults (34.7%) (p < 0.0001), but extrathyroidal invasion was not significantly more frequent in children (24.1%) than adults (15.8%) (p = 0.095). Distant metastases at diagnosis were detected in more children (6.9%) than adults (2.1%) (p = 0.022). Postoperatively, neck node metastases recurred more frequently in children (30%) than in adults (7%) (p < 0.001), but local neck recurrences were not significantly more frequent in children (12%) than in adults (5%) (p = 0.083). Postoperative distant metastases occurred with similar frequency in children (6%) and adults (5%) (p = 0.98). Survival (all causes of death) for both adults and children up to 30 years after the initial surgery was no different from expected survival rates. Only adults aged more than 40 years had a significantly higher mortality from PTC than did children (p < 0.0001). Fourteen percent of children had died of PTC by 15 years after diagnosis of distant metastases, whereas 68% of similarly affected adults were dead at 15 years (p = 0.014). PTC was more often metastatic to neck nodes and lungs before initial surgery and more often recurrent in neck lymph nodes postoperatively. However, PTC tended to be less fatal in children, and this may be related to the infrequency of nondiploid DNA content in the childhood PTC tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1166
Number of pages10
JournalSurgery
Volume104
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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    Zimmerman, D., Hay, I. D., Gough, I. R., Goellner, J. R., Ryan, J. J., Grant, C. S., & McConahey, W. M. (1988). Papillary thyroid carcinoma in children and adults: Long-term follow-up of 1039 patients conservatively treated at one institution during three decades. Surgery, 104(6), 1157-1166.