Impact of multifocality on the recurrence of papillary thyroid carcinoma

Joohyun Woo, Hyeonkyeong Kim, Hyungju Kwon

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18 Scopus citations


The incidence of thyroid cancer has dramatically increased over the last few decades, and up to 60% of patients have multifocal tumors. However, the prognostic impact of multifocality in patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) remains unestablished and controversial. We evaluate whether multifocality can predict the recurrence of PTC. A total of 1249 patients who underwent total thyroidectomy for PTC at the Ewha Medical Center between March 2012 and December 2019 were reviewed. In this study, multifocality was found in 487 patients (39.0%) and the mean follow-up period was 5.5 ± 2.7 years. Multifocality was associated with high-risk features for recurrence, including extrathyroidal extension, lymph node metastasis, and margin involvement. After adjustment of those clinicopathological features, 10-year disease-free survival was 93.3% in patients with multifocal tumors, whereas those with unifocal disease showed 97.6% (p = 0.011). Multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that male sex (HR 2.185, 95% CI 1.047–4.559), tumor size (HR 1.806, 95% CI 1.337–2.441), N1b LN metastasis (HR 3.603, 95% CI 1.207–10.757), and multifocality (HR 1.986, 95% CI 1.015–3.888) were independent predictors of recurrence. In conclusion, multifocality increased the risk of recurrence in patients with PTC. Patients with multifocal PTCs may need judicious treatment and follow-up approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5144
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Multifocality
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • Recurrence


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