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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2000 June;25(2):39-46


language: Italian

Differentiated thyroid cancer in the young. Clinical and histopathological features

Iurato M. P., Scollo C., Belfiore A., Pellegriti G., Salice P., Pezzino V., Giuffrida D.


Background. The surgical approach to Differen-tiated Thyroid Carcinoma (DTC) is controversial. Aim of this study is to evaluate the opportunity of total thyroidectomy as treatment of choice for DTC in children.
Methods. We examined the tumor features at diagnosis, the complications of surgery and the clinical outcome in a consecutive series of 33 young patients, (age range 7-19 yrs), who underwent total thyroidectomy for DTC as compared to a consecutive series of 181 adult patients operated for DTC (age range 20-64 yrs).
Results. Histopathological examination has shown that bilateral foci of the tumor and extrathyroidal extension, were present with similar frequency in both groups of patients (15 vs 18% and 39 vs 48% respectively); node metastases and distant metastases were more frequent in young patients than in adult patients. Complications of total thyroidectomy were not frequent with 6% of permanent hypoparathyroidism. No case of laryngeal nerve damage was observed. In 7/8 patients with lung metastases the radioiodine treatment was effective: in four patients we observed a complete remission of disease, and in three patients a partial response with a decrease of Tg levels and a reduction of the radioiodine uptake areas.
Conclusions. Thyroid carcinoma is not less aggressive in children than in adults.
Total thyroidectomy plus lymph node dissections appears to be the treatment of choice as routine surgical treatment of DTC in children. Radioiodine therapy gives good results for the treatment of lung metastases.

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