Each year, the proportion of thyroid cancer patients presenting with low-risk disease is increasing. The shift in the landscape of thyroid cancer presentation is forcing clinicians to re-evaluate not only management but also surveillance paradigms. During the follow-up, patients are stratified considering their response to treatment and classified into one of the following response categories: excellent, biochemical incomplete, structural incomplete, or indeterminate. These categories reflect a real-time prognosis and thereby substantially influence and personalise disease management. Although at present, no guideline recommends stopping differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) surveillance at any particular time point, the relatively low prevalence of treatment failures in low-risk patients may prompt early discontinuation of surveillance in this subgroup. Therefore, this debate will present an overview of the controversies surrounding the surveillance of low-risk patients with DTC.
Livia Lamartina and Daria Handkiewicz-Junak
Livia Lamartina, Désirée Deandreis, Cosimo Durante, and Sebastiano Filetti
The clinical and epidemiological profiles of differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs) have changed in the last three decades. Today’s DTCs are more likely to be small, localized, asymptomatic papillary forms. Current practice is, though, moving toward more conservative approaches (e.g. lobectomy instead of total thyroidectomy, selective use of radioiodine). This evolution has been paralleled and partly driven by rapid technological advances in the field of diagnostic imaging. The challenge of contemporary DTCs follow-up is to tailor a risk-of-recurrence-based management, taking into account the dynamic nature of these risks, which evolve over time, spontaneously and in response to treatments. This review provides a closer look at the evolving evidence-based views on the use and utility of imaging technology in the post-treatment staging and the short- and long-term surveillance of patients with DTCs. The studies considered range from cervical US with Doppler flow analysis to an expanding palette of increasingly sophisticated second-line studies (cross-sectional, functional, combined-modality approaches), which can be used to detect disease that has spread beyond the neck and, in some cases, shed light on its probable outcome.
Livia Lamartina, Sophie Bidault, Julien Hadoux, Joanne Guerlain, Elizabeth Girard, Ingrid Breuskin, Marie Attard, Voichita Suciu, Eric Baudin, Abir Al Ghuzlan, Sophie Leboulleux, and Dana Hartl
The presence of extrathyroidal extension (ETE) is generally considered an indication for total thyroidectomy for differentiated thyroid cancer. The accuracy of neck ultrasound for the diagnosis of ETE is controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of preoperative ultrasound evaluation of ETE.
Retrospective and observational study of consecutive patients operated between 2016 and 2019 for cytologically suspicious or indeterminate thyroid nodules. US images obtained preoperatively were retrospectively reviewed to identify signs of minimal or gross ETE. Histology was considered the gold standard for diagnosis of ETE. The sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV), and accuracy of US were evaluated.
A cohort of 305 patients (75% females, median age 48 years) with 378 nodules (median size 18 mm) was studied. Seventy-five percent of the nodules (n=228) were malignant on histology and ETE was present in 106 cases (28%): 83 minimal ETE and 23 gross ETE. Suspicion of minimal ETE on preoperative ultrasound was found in 50 (13%) with a sensitivity of 30%, a specificity of 93%, a PPV 62% and a NPV of 78%, with an accuracy of 76%. Gross ETE on ultrasound was found in 19 (5%) nodules with a sensitivity of 78%, a specificity of 99.7% a PPV 94.7% an NPV of 98.6% and an accuracy of 98%.
Preoperative US is very specific and accurate in diagnosing gross ETE which impacts the extent of initial surgery for thyroid cancers.