Ablation techniques or active surveillance compared to surgical resection in patients with low-risk papillary thyroid cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Tannya Ledesma-Leon, Paola Solis-Pazmino, Eddy P. Lincango, Luis A. Figueroa, Joshua Ellenhorn, Yosef Nasseri, Jason Cohen, Minerva Romero-Arenas, Cristhian Garcia, Alvaro Sanabria, Tatiana Rojas, Junior Torres-Román, Emilia Camacho, Sebastian Vallejo, Benjamin Alvarado-Mafla, Sophie Dream, Benjamin C. James, Oscar J. Ponce, Arun Sharma, Juan P. Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The global prevalence of thyroid cancer is on the rise. About one-third of newly diagnosed thyroid cancer cases comprise low-risk papillary thyroid cancer (1.5 cm or more minor). While surgical removal remains the prevailing approach for managing low-risk papillary thyroid cancer (LPTC) in patients, other options such as active surveillance (AS), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA), and laser ablation (LA) are also being considered as viable alternatives. This study evaluated and compared surgical thyroid resection (TSR) versus non-surgical (NS) methods for treating patients with LPTC. Methods: The study encompassed an analysis of comparisons between surgical thyroid resection (TSR) and alternative approaches, including active surveillance (AS), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA), or laser ablation (LA). The focus was on patients with biopsy-confirmed low-risk papillary thyroid cancer (LPTC) of less than 1.5 cm without preoperative indications of local or distant metastasis. The primary outcomes assessed were recurrence rates, disease-specific mortality, and quality of life (QoL). Data were collected from prominent databases, including Cochrane Database, Embase, MEDLINE, and Scopus, from inception to June 3rd, 2020. The CLARITY tool was utilized to evaluate bias risk. The analysis involved odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for dichotomous outcomes, as well as mean differences (MD) and standardized mean differences (SMD) for continuous outcomes. The study is registered on PROSPERO under the identifier CRD42021235657. Results: The study incorporated 13 retrospective cohort studies involving 4034 patients. Surgical thyroid resection (TSR), active surveillance (AS), and minimally invasive techniques like radiofrequency ablation (RFA), microwave ablation (MWA), and laser ablation (LA) were performed in varying proportions of cases. The analysis indicated that specific disease mortality rates were comparable among AS, MWA, and TSR groups. The risk of recurrence, evaluated over different follow-up periods, showed no significant differences when comparing AS, RFA, MWA, or LA against TSR. Patients undergoing AS demonstrated better physical health-related quality of life (QoL) than those undergoing TSR. However, no substantial differences were observed in the overall mental health domain of QoL when comparing AS or RFA with TSR. The risk of bias was moderate in nine studies and high in four. Conclusion: Low-quality evidence indicates comparable recurrence and disease-specific mortality risks among patients with LPTC who underwent ablation techniques or active surveillance (AS) compared to surgery. Nevertheless, individuals who opted for AS exhibited enhanced physical quality of life (QoL). Subsequent investigations are warranted to validate these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-341
Number of pages12
JournalEndocrine
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Ablation Techniques
  • Active surveillance
  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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