Thyroid Carcinoma in Children and Young Adults: Retrospective Review of 19 Cases

Joana Saraiva, Cristina Ribeiro, Miguel Melo, Leonor Gomes, Gracinda Costa, Francisco Carrilho


Introduction: Thyroid carcinoma is rare in children and young adults. Most of management guidelines are based in data from adult population. Several controversies remain regarding the aggressiveness of clinical presentation and therapeutic approach.
Objective: To evaluate all differentiated thyroid carcinoma patients with less than 20 years-old at presentation reflecting the experience of our unit in relation to diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of this clinical entity.
Material and Methods: This is a retrospective review of clinical records of all children and young adults followed at Oncology Consultation of Department of Endocrinology of Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra between 1996 and 2012.
Results: Nineteen patients with mean age of 16 years old were followed, 13 girls and 6 boys. None of the patients had previous neck irradiation. A palpable cervical mass was the presenting complaint in 84.6%. FNA was performed in 15 patients and was diagnostic or suspicious of malignancy in 71.4%. Total thyroidectomy was performed in 18 cases (94.7%). Papillary carcinoma was identified in all. Vascular invasion and multicentry occurred in 21.1%. Mean tumor size was 2.5cm. Cervical lymph node involvement was diagnosed in 31.6% and distant metastases in 5.2%. The majority of patients (18 in 19) were classified as stage I disease. All patients received thyroxine suppressive therapy and postoperative radioiodine ablation was given to 84.2% (mean dose 85.7mCi). During mean follow-up
of almost 6 years, 16 patients remain disease free.
Conclusion: In our series, cervical lymph node and distant metastases rates were similar to that found in adult population. Overall prognosis was very good.

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