Introduction: The 2015 American Thyroid Association guidelines recommend to de-escalate treatment such as Thyroid lobectomy instead of total thyroidectomy for 1–4 cm papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Dutch guidelines endorse restricted work-up for thyroid incidentalomas recommending only fine needle aspiration in case of a ‘palpable thyroid nodule’. This diagnostic work-up algorithm may result in the identification of less indolent PTCs and may lead to a patient population with relatively more aggressive PTCs. This study aims to retrospectively analyze recurrence rates of low-risk 1–4 cm PTC in the Netherlands.
Methods: From the national cancer registry, patients with low-risk 1–4 cm PTC between 2005 and 2015 were included for analysis. Disease free survival (DFS) and overall survival were compared between patients who underwent TT ± RAI and TL without RAI. Post-hoc propensity score analysis was performed correcting for age, sex, T-stage, and N-stage.
Results: In total 901 patients were included, of which 711 (78.9%) were females, with a median follow-up of 7.7 years. TT was performed in 893 (94.8%) patients. Recurrence occurred in 23 (2.6%) patients. Multivariable analysis showed no significant correlation between extent of surgery and DFS (p = 0.978), or overall survival (p = 0.590). After propensity score matching, multivariable analysis showed no significant difference on extent of surgery and recurrence.
Conclusion: Low-risk PTC patients with 1–4 cm tumor who underwent TL showed similar recurrence rates as those who underwent TT ± adjuvant RAI, which suggests that TL can be sufficient in treating low-risk 1–4 cm PTC, possibly reducing morbidity of these patients in the Netherlands.