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Treating Isthmic Papillary Thyroid Cancer With Ultrasound-Guided Microwave Ablation

By: Julia Fiederlein
Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021

Ultrasound-guided microwave ablation seems to be a feasible, safe, and effective treatment option for selected patients with isthmic papillary thyroid cancer, according to Ming-An Yu, MD, PhD, of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, and colleagues. The results of this retrospective study were published in the International Journal of Hyperthermia.

“Controversy regarding the optimal therapeutic strategy for papillary thyroid cancer located in the isthmus has existed due to this unique anatomical location in close proximity to the trachea,” the investigators commented. “Ultrasound-guided microwave ablation is a promising minimally invasive technique for treating a variety of tumors, including thyroid nodules and parathyroid nodules.”

Between June 2014 and September 2020, a total of 34 patients were treated with microwave ablation. Of them, 26 were female. The mean age of this study population was 43 years. Follow-up data were provided for a mean of 17 months.

At 1, 3, and 6 months after microwave ablation, measures of thyroid and parathyroid function did not seem to significantly differ from pretreatment levels. The tumor sizes appeared to significantly increase from pretreatment at 1 and 3 months after microwave ablation; however, at 6, 9, 12, and 18 months after microwave ablation, the tumor sizes seemed to be significantly smaller than the pretreatment measurements. Based on the results of ultrasound examinations, tumors completely disappeared in 70.6% of patients. A total of 2.9% of patients experienced side effects; no major or minor complications were reported in this study population.

According to the investigators, the incidence of this type of cancer located in the thyroid isthmus among all cases of papillary thyroid cancer ranges from between 1% and 12.3%. In their study population, 8.7% of patients with papillary thyroid cancer had the disease in the isthmus.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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