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Case Report: Radiofrequency Ablation for Inoperable Small Papillary Thyroid Cancers

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Thursday, June 3, 2021

Ultrasound-guided radiofrequency thermal ablation has been proposed as a safe and effective treatment method for patients with low-risk papillary thyroid microcarcinomas and for those who are unfit for surgery. A noteworthy case of small papillary thyroid carcinoma, which ultimately responded to this procedure, was described by Mauro Papotti, MD, of the University of Turin, Italy, and colleagues in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.

“Our experience confirmed what [was] already demonstrated by previous reports: radiofrequency ablation can effectively eliminate small papillary carcinomas with a very low complication rate,” the investigators commented. “It may be an alternative strategy for the treatment of low-risk, indolent papillary thyroid microcarcinomas, thus avoiding the potential side effects of surgery in patients at risk for relevant comorbidities.”

A 72-year-old man presented with a small thyroid nodule, which was diagnosed as papillary carcinoma after fine-needle aspiration. He had other serious comorbidities; thus, the malignant thyroid nodule was submitted to active surveillance. After a slight dimensional increase in the nodule was detected, radiofrequency thermal ablation was safely and effectively performed.

Based on the results of follow-up ultrasonography conducted after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, there seemed to be a progressive reduction in size and loss of vascularization in the treated area. After 6 months, fine-needle aspiration revealed poor cellularity composed of inflammatory cells and thick colloid; no residual neoplastic cells were found in the sample.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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