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Patients with Oncocytic Variant Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Have a Similar Prognosis to Matched Classical Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Controls. Thyroid 2018 11;28(11):1462-1467



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85056337359   1 Citation


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that oncocytic variant papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) may be more aggressive, with higher rates of recurrent disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate characteristics and outcomes of patients with oncocytic variant PTC compared to classical PTC.

METHODS: Patients with oncocytic variant PTC were retrospectively identified from 519 patients who underwent thyroidectomy for PTC between January 2009 and August 2015. Data collected included patient demographics, laboratory and pathology findings, imaging studies, treatment, and follow-up. Patients were matched 1:1 by age, sex, and TNM stage with patients who underwent total thyroidectomy for classical PTC during the same time period.

RESULTS: The cohort included 21 patients, of whom 18 (86%) were female, with a median age of 53 years (range 23-68 years). All patients underwent total thyroidectomy, and 17 (81%) had a central compartment neck dissection (8 [38%] prophylactic). The median tumor size was 2.0 cm (range 0.9-6.5 cm), and four (19%) patients had extrathyroidal extension. There was no significant difference in histopathologic characteristics, including extrathyroidal extension and lymphovascular invasion, between the two groups except for an increased incidence of thyroiditis in oncocytic variant PTC (90.5% vs. 57%; p = 0.01). In oncocytic variant PTC patients who underwent central compartment neck dissection, malignant lymph nodes were found in 12 (57%) patients compared to 13 (62%) classical (p = 0.75). Lateral neck dissection was performed in 5 (24%) oncocytic variant and classical PTC patients, with metastatic lymphadenopathy found in four (a median of four malignant lymph nodes; range 1-6) and five (a median of 2.5 malignant lymph nodes; range 1-9), respectively. Radioactive iodine was administered to 18 (86%) oncocytic variant PTC and 18 (86%) classical PTC patients. At a median follow-up of 51 months (interquartile range 38-61), one oncocytic variant PTC patient had recurrent disease and underwent reoperation at 24 months. In classical PTC patients with a median follow-up time of 77 months (range 56-87 months), two (9.5%) patients had detectable thyroglobulin levels indicating early recurrence, but neither has undergone reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS: Oncocytic variant PTC was present in 5% of PTC patients. Most (95%) patients remain disease-free at four years, similar to classical PTC outcomes, suggesting that oncocytic variant may not represent a more aggressive variant.

Author List

Carr AA, Yen TWF, Ortiz DI, Hunt BC, Fareau G, Massey BL, Campbell BH, Doffek KL, Evans DB, Wang TS


Bruce H. Campbell MD Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Douglas B. Evans MD Chair, Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Becky Massey MD Associate Professor in the Otolaryngology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Tracy S. Wang MD, MPH Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Tina W F Yen MD, MS Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

International Cooperation
Lymph Nodes
Lymphatic Metastasis
Middle Aged
Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
Retrospective Studies
Thyroid Neoplasms
Young Adult
jenkins-FCD Prod-409 d1e206b0be345926047b0d9c353c78a4cce4058b