Skip Lateral Neck Node Metastases in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma
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Papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) are commonly associated with lymph node metastases (LNMs), which are thought to disseminate sequentially, first to the central compartment and later to the lateral compartment. However, a small number of patients have skip metastases to the lateral compartment without central LNMs. This study was performed to evaluate the clinicopathologic characteristics of skip metastases in PTC.
We reviewed the medical records of 147 patients who underwent total thyroidectomy with central neck dissection plus modified radical neck dissection (RND) for PTC. A single surgeon performed all operations. The patients were classified as either present or absent skip metastases. The clinicopathologic characteristics were statistically analyzed.
Skip metastases were found in 32 patients (21.8%) and occurred commonly with primary tumors of the upper pole, and with tumors ≤1 cm in diameter. Skip metastases were less common in patients with multifocal disease. Patients with skip metastases had fewer metastatic lateral nodes that were more frequently found at a single level: mostly at level III (96.9%) and level II (34.4%).
Although skip metastases occur in only a small number of patients, the lateral compartment should be carefully evaluated for skip metastases, even though primary tumors are either single focus, located in the upper pole, or ≤1 cm in diameter.
KeywordsThyroid Cancer Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Central Compartment Lateral Compartment Lateral Neck