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Minerva Endocrinologica 2021 Jan 12

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1977.20.03283-6

Copyright © 2020 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Clinical management of low-risk papillary thyroid microcarcinoma

Chie MASAKI , Kiminori SUGINO, Koichi ITO

Department of Surgery, Ito Hospital, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan


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Papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) is well known to have an indolent nature with an excellent prognosis. Surgery has been the standard treatment during the past several decades, with metastasis or recurrence being exceedingly rare. Active surveillance (AS) is a new risk-adapted approach alternative to surgery that involves just watching, but not giving any treatment unless needed, not addressing the tumor itself. The patients for whom AS is adopted spend their time “with tumors”. In follow-up, it is possible that alarming factors such as tumor progression appear, causing anxiety about progression. Furthermore, endless follow-up is needed. However, considering the indolent nature and unfavorable events such as surgical complications caused by surgery, AS is a good management plan for selected PTMC patients. Decision making balancing between the prognosis and unfavorable events is needed for the treatment plan. Consideration of the factors and timing of surgical conversion is also needed. In this review article, how AS should be adopted as a new management option that is an alternative to surgery, which has been the absolute choice of treatment up to recently, is discussed. Concurrently, the characteristics of the two treatment strategies are reviewed, while introducing the background that explains how AS came to attention.


KEY WORDS: Papillary carcinoma; Papillary thyroid microcarcinoma; Active surveillance; Risk-adapted management; Surgical conversion

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