Thyroid Cancer Coverage from Every Angle
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Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Korean Study Focuses on Unusual Metastases

By: Jenna Carter, PhD
Posted: Monday, October 26, 2020

A recent article published in PLOS One reported findings on the clinical characteristics of unusual metastases that arise due to differentiated thyroid cancer. Previous work has highlighted that due to diverse metastatic sites and disease rarity, reported data on the prognosis for patients with unusual metastases are limited. Ho-Cheol Kang, MD, PhD, of Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, South Korea, and colleagues evaluated appropriate diagnostic and management approaches based on patient status and metastatic sites in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer.

“Distant metastases from differentiated thyroid cancers are uncommon but are one of the main causes of cancer-specific mortality.…Therefore, early detection and appropriate management…are critical for better clinical outcomes in patients with advanced thyroid cancer,” stated Dr. Kang and colleagues.

A total of 38,772 patients with differentiated thyroid cancer were screened for this study. Medical records from four tertiary Korean hospitals were reviewed retrospectively, and unusual metastases were diagnosed using cytology, histology, and various imaging studies.

Overall, their findings revealed 19 patients had unusual metastases. The median age for those patients was 68 years, and most cases were male (68.4%). Analyses revealed unusual metastases in 25 different foci, including various organs, muscles, and skin tissue. Pathologic screening assays confirmed metastases in 10 patients (52.6%), and imaging studies confirmed that 11 patients (68.8%) had radioiodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer. The median follow-up period was 20 months (11.0–55.0 months), and 6 patients (31.6%) died due to disease progression.

Their findings revealed that the median time interval between the first diagnosis of primary thyroid cancer and diagnosis of unusual metastases was 110 months, and unusual metastases were found in at least 19 cases, spread to different organs across the body. They also noted that patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors had stable disease or partial response after the first treatment.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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