Number of Tumor Foci as a Risk Factor for Recurrence in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: Does It Improve Predictability?

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Multifocality in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) increases the risk of recurrence. Some recent studies have suggested that multifocality-related parameters, such as the number of tumor foci, total tumor diameter (TTD), and bilaterality, are more useful for predicting recurrence than multifocality. However, it is still unclear if these factors can improve the accuracy of the recurrence prediction model. Between 2012 and 2019, 1288 patients with PTC underwent total thyroidectomy at Ewha Womans University Medical Center. The 5-year disease-free survival rate was 91.2% in patients with >3 tumor foci, 95.1% with 3 foci, and 97.6% with 2 foci; conversely, those with a unifocal tumor showed a 5-year recurrence-free survival rate of 98.0%. Cox proportional hazards analysis indicated that the number of tumor foci (HR for >3 foci, 3.214; HR for 3 foci, 2.473), bilaterality (HR, 2.530), or TTD (HR for >3 cm, 5.359; HR for 2–3 cm, 3.584) could be an independent predictor of recurrence. However, models using the number of tumor foci, bilaterality, and TTD did not show better overall predictability of recurrence than models based on multifocality. In conclusion, a simpler prediction model based on multifocality may be sufficient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4141
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2022

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  • multifocality
  • number of tumor foci
  • papillary thyroid carcinoma
  • recurrence


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