Familial Nonmedullary Thyroid Carcinoma Characterized by Multifocality and a High Recurrence Rate in a Large Study Population
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- Uchino, S., Noguchi, S., Kawamoto, H. et al. World J Surg (2002) 26: 897. doi:10.1007/s00268-002-6615-y
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First-degree relatives of persons with thyroid cancer are known to be at relatively high risk for the disease. To better understand the clinicopathologic characteristics of familial nonmedullary thyroid carcinoma (FNMTC), we carried out a retrospective study in which we identified individuals treated at our institution who had at least one first-degree relative with the disease. We used data obtained from our patient records to compare the features of 258 cases of the disease with the features of sporadic papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma in another group of patients. The 258 patients represented 154 families and were selected from among 6458 patients with papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma who underwent thyroidectomy between 1946 and 2000. Compared to the patients with sporadic disease, the FNMTC patients were more likely to have intraglandular dissemination (28.5% vs. 40.7%; p < 0.0001) and multiple benign nodules (29.8% vs. 41.5%; p <0.0001). There were no significant differences between the two types of patients in terms of gender, age, tumor diameter, adhesion to or invasion of the surrounding tissues, macroscopic metastasis observed at surgery, histology, presence of single benign nodules, presence of chronic thyroiditis, microscopic metastasis, or rate of lymph node metastasis. Recurrence was statistically frequent in the FNMTC patients compared with that in the sporadic disease patients (16.3% vs. 9.6%; p = 0.0005), and the disease-free survival rate was significantly poorer in the FNMTC patients (p = 0.0041 by the Wilcoxon test and p <0.0001 by the log-rank test). No significant difference in the overall survival rate was found between the two groups. Multivariate analysis by Cox’s proportional hazards method showed FNMTC to be an independent predictor of shorter disease-free survival (risk ratio 1.88; confidence interval 1.35–2.54; p = 0.0003). Locoregional recurrence in the ipsilateral or contralateral lymph nodes and contralateral thyroid lobe was significantly more frequent in the FNMTC patients than in the sporadic disease patients, whereas no difference was found regarding distant metastases. We conclude that FNMTC is a clinically distinct entity with an aggressive nature. Because of the frequent presence of benign nodules, multifocality, and high rate of locoregional recurrence, total or near-total thyroidectomy with modified radical neck dissection in FNMTC patients is recommended.