ABSTRACT Objective: Although thyroid microcarcinoma (TMC) usually has a favorable prognosis, some patients present a higher risk of disease recurrence or persistence. Thus, we aimed at identifying possible risk factors associated with an incomplete response to therapy in TMC. Subjects and methods: This was a retrospective study of 517 patients with TMC treated with total thyroidectomy, with or without radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy, reclassified after 1.1 ± 0.4 years according to the response to treatment into “favorable” (excellent/indeterminate) or “unfavorable” (biochemical/structural incomplete) responses. We evaluated participants' age, sex, tumor size, histological variants, multifocality, presence of vascular/lymphatic/perineural invasion, extrathyroidal extension, metastatic lymph nodes (LN), and distant metastasis. The effect of RAI therapy on the response range was analyzed in a given subgroup. Results: The mean age observed was 46.4 ± 12.0 years, and 89.7% were female. We noted 97.5% with papillary carcinoma, 27.8% with multifocality and 11.2% with LN metastasis. Although the majority of patients had a low risk of recurrence/persistence (78%), 75% were submitted to RAI therapy. Incomplete response (20.7%) was associated with multifocality (p=0.041; OR=1.619) and metastatic LN (p=0.041; OR=1.868). These variables were strongly correlated (p=0.000; OR=3.283). No cut-off of tumor size was identified as a predictor of incomplete response by the receiver operating curve analysis. RAI treatment did not influence the response of patients with multifocality or LN metastasis. Conclusion: Multifocality and LN metastasis are independent risk factors for incomplete response in TMC patients and are strongly correlated. Additional RAI therapy was not associated with a more favorable response in these subgroups.
ABSTRACT Objective: The intermediate-risk (IR) category includes tumors with different degrees of aggression. We aimed to identify the risk factors associated with unfavorable response to initial treatment and compare the effect of low/high radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy. Subjects and methods: A total of 614 IR patients were selected from a database, during 1972-2015. All patients underwent total thyroidectomy and RAI therapy and were reclassified after 12-18 months into the favorable (complete/indeterminate) response group and the unfavorable (biochemical/incomplete structural) response group. A total of 92 patients were assessed for late response (mean: 9.19 ± 5.73 years). Age, gender, tumor size, histology, multifocality, vascular invasion, extrathyroidal extension, presence and number of lymph node metastasis, and stimulated thyroglobulin at ablation (sTg) were evaluated. Results: Mean age at diagnosis was 41.47 ± 15.81 years, and 83.6% of the patients were female. Within 12-18 months after initial therapy, unfavorable response was detected in 41.2% of the patients and was associated, in multivariate analysis, with lymph node metastasis (p = 0.041; odds ratio [OR] = 1.9), presence of more than five metastatic lymph nodes (p = 0,017; OR = 2.6), and sTg > 10 ng/mL (p = 0.005; OR = 10.0). For patients with a longer follow-up, sTg >10 ng/mL was associated with unfavorable response (p = 0.002; OR = 6.8). A higher RAI dose was not related to better prognosis at the end of the follow-up. Conclusion: A sTg level of >10 ng/mL and lymph node metastasis were associated with an unfavorable response 12-18 months after initial treatment. A RAI dose below 150 mCi was proven sufficient to treat IR patients.