Management of patients with low-risk papillary thyroid carcinoma

Ian D. Hay

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Objective: To define a rational, cost-effective, simple approach to managing most patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) who are at low-risk of either cause-specific mortality or tumor recurrence. Methods: Taking advantage of the collective experience of a cohort of 2512 patients with PTC who had initial definitive treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, between 1940 and 2000, a 5-step approach to the management of low-risk PTC has been devised. This program is based on appropriate preoperative ultrasound localization of neck disease and potentially curative surgery consisting of near-total or total thyroidectomy, with appropriate neck nodal exploration and resection. Results: The emphasis of the present program is on the extent of initial surgery, where optimal care is ascribed to a near-total thyroidectomy with curative intent and appropriate neck nodal resection as predicated by appropriate preoperative ultrasonography evaluation of regional lymph nodes. Radioiodine remnant ablation (RRA) is not applicable to patients with PTC who are defined on the day of definitive initial surgery to be at low risk as defined by a metastasis, age, completeness of resection, invasion, and size (MACIS) score of less than 6. Conclusion: The outlook for patients with low-risk PTC is very optimistic, with rates at 30 postoperative years of only 1% for cause-specific mortality and less than 15% for tumor recurrence at any site. The long-term results obtained by potentially curative bilateral resection, appropriate regional lymph nodal excision, and selective use of RRA are excellent. Realistically improving these acceptably low rates for cause-specific mortality and tumor recurrence may be difficult.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-533
Number of pages13
JournalEndocrine Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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