Incidentally Discovered Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinomas Are More Frequently Found in Patients with Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis Than with Multinodular Goiter or Graves’ Disease.
Paparodis RD, Karvounis E, Bantouna D, Chourpiliadis C, Chourpiliadi H, Livadas S, Imam S, Jaume JC.
Thyroid. 2020 Apr;30(4):531-535. doi: 10.1089/thy.2019.0347. Epub 2020 Feb 20.
Background: Incidental finding of differentiated thyroid microcarcinomas (DTMc) in patients undergoing thyroid surgery for benign indications has become increasingly common. Even though carcinogenesis might relate to the background disease of the gland, the incidence of DTMc in the setting of various thyroid disorders remains unclear. We designed the present study to address this question.
Materials and Methods: We reviewed data from two prospectively collected databases of consecutive patients undergoing thyroid surgery in two high-volume tertiary care referral centers, one in the United States (A) and the other one in Greece (B) over 18 years. We collected data on the preoperative surgical indication, fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology, and surgical pathology. We excluded subjects operated for thyroid cancer or with high risk for malignancy (FNA suspicious for thyroid cancer, follicular neoplasm, suspicious for follicular neoplasm, follicular lesion of undetermined significance/atypia of undetermined significance, or preoperative features of malignancy) and those with postsurgical pathology consistent with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) ≥1 cm in largest diameter. We divided our subjects based on pathology data into those with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (CLT), Graves’ disease (GD), or multinodular goiter (MNG).
Results: We reviewed 6096 cases of thyroid surgery (A: 2711, B: 3385). We included 3909 subjects in the analysis. Overall, 569 (14.6%) PTC subjects were identified (A: 221/2003 [11%], B: 348/1906 [18.3%], odds ratios [OR] = 0.56, p < 0.0001). CLT was present in 617 subjects; PTC sonographic was present in 143 subjects (23.2%) (A: 79/404 [19.6%], B: 64/213 [30%], OR = 0.56, p = 0.003). GD was present in 359 subjects; PTC was present in 37 subjects (10.3%) (A: 12/197 [6.1%], B: 25/162 [15.4%], OR = 0.36, p = 0.004). MNG was present in 2933 subjects; PTC was present in 389 subjects (13.3%) (A: 130/1402 [9.3%], B: 259/1531 [16.9%], OR = 0.50, p < 0.0001). The incidence of PTC was significantly higher in CLT compared with MNG (OR = 1.75, p < 0.0001) or GD (OR = 2.25, p < 0.0001) but not in MNG compared with GD (OR = 1.29, p > 0.05).
Conclusions: Incidentally discovered PTC are more commonly identified in surgical specimens from subjects with CLT compared with patients with MNG, while patients with GD present with a lower incidence compared with both groups. These data support previously published findings that euthyroid Hashimoto thyroiditis favors carcinogenesis, while GD may have a protective role.
Keywords: Graves’ disease; chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis; incidental thyroid microcarcinomas; multinodular goiter; papillary thyroid cancer; papillary thyroid microcarcinomas.