Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) accounts up to 10% of all thyroid cancers, but is responsible for a disproportionate number of deaths. While surgery is the only curative treatment for MTC, indications for lateral neck lymph node (LLN) dissection are controversial. We performed a retrospective review to describe clinical outcomes in 93 MTC patients from July 1995 to March 2015. We analyzed their clinicopathologic factors, and cut-off values of tumor size and calcitonin levels were calculated using a receiver operating characteristic curve. Using the instances of lymph node metastases, the tumor size cut-off value was 0.95 cm (area under curve, AUC = 0.697) in patients with ipsilateral central lymph node (CLN) metastases, 2.25 cm (AUC = 0.793) in contralateral CLN metastases, and 1.75 cm (AUC = 0.753) in ipsilateral LLN metastases. The cut-off values of preoperative calcitonin levels were 226.6 pg/mL (AUC = 0.746) in ipsilateral CLN, 755.0 pg/mL (AUC = 0.840) in contralateral CLN metastases, and 237.0 pg/mL (AUC = 0.775) in ipsilateral LLN metastases. This study supports the notion that ipsilateral LLN metastases occur before contralateral CLN metastases. Therefore, ipsilateral LLN dissection should be considered in patients with contralateral CLN metastases. The extent of surgery should be based on the status of LN metastases, preoperative basal calcitonin level, and tumor size to help individualize the extent of surgery.
- lymph nodes
ASJC Scopus subject areas