Time trends of the extent of disease at first diagnosis and biochemical cure remain ill-defined for sporadic medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). This investigation aimed to delineate time trends and biochemical cure rates for sporadic MTC.
This was an observational study of consecutive patients operated on for sporadic MTC between 1995 and 2015.
Time trends of clinical and histopathological variables indicative of the extent of disease and biochemical cure were calculated for 600 patients with sporadic MTC, 322 of whom had initial neck surgery and 278 of whom had neck reoperation at a tertiary surgical center in Germany.
From 1995–2000 to 2011–2015, significant declines (all P<0.001) were noted in the percentage of node-positive tumors (from 73 to 49%), mediastinal lymph node metastasis (from 21 to 6%) and distant metastasis (from 23 to 6%). These changes were paralleled by significant increases (all P<0.001) in mean patient age (from 49.1 to 57.3years) and the percentage of MTC ≤10mm (from 19 to 39%) and biochemical cure (from 28 to 62%). When only patients with primary tumors >10mm were considered, the decreasing percentage of mediastinal lymph node metastasis and distant metastasis, and rising mean patient age and biochemical cure rates remained statistically significant.
Significant reductions in the extent of the disease and improved biochemical cure rates pointed toward increasing therapeutic control of sporadic MTC. The independent contribution of routine calcitonin screening to these time-dependent changes warrants more research.