, 10:164,
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Clinical predictors of right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastasis from papillary thyroid carcinoma

Abstract

Background

Central and lateral lymph node metastases are quite common in patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma, and the predictors for those metastases have been well studied. Right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastasis has rarely been studied. The aim of this study was to identify the clinicopathological characteristics that may be risk factors for right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastasis in patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Methods

This was a prospective observational study of 243 patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) who underwent total thyroidectomy and comprehensive central lymph node dissection with or without lateral lymph node dissection between April 2008 and January 2010. The clinicopathologic findings from these patients were investigated and the patterns of lymph node metastasis were analyzed in the patients who had right upper paraesophageal lymph node disease.

Results

Of the 243 patients undergoing lymph node dissection, 14 had right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastases. Two of these patients had right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastasis only, without central compartment metastasis. Univariate analysis of clinicopathologic findings showed that right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastasis had significant association with larger primary tumors, multifocal tumors, extrathyroid extension, and lymphatic invasion (p <0.05 for each factor).

Conclusions

Although there were no independent predictors of right upper paraesophageal lymph node metastasis, it can be the only site of metastasis without other compartmental metastasis. Therefore, during surgery for patients with central or lateral lymph node metastases from PTC, it may be helpful to examine the right upper paraesophageal lymph nodes.