Optimal Surgical Extent in Patients with Unilateral Multifocal Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma

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3 Scopus citations


Multifocality increases the risk of recurrence in patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC); however, it is unclear whether multifocality justifies more extensive or aggressive surgical treatment. Here, we evaluated the effect of the operative extent on the recurrence-free survival (RFS) of patients with multifocal PTC. Between 2010 and 2019, 718 patients with unilateral multifocal PTC were enrolled; 115 patients (16.0%) underwent ipsilateral thyroid lobectomy, and 606 patients (84.0%) underwent total thyroidectomy. With a mean follow up of 5.2 years, RFS was comparable between the total thyroidectomy and lobectomy groups (p = 0.647) after adjusting for potential confounders. Multivariable Cox regression analysis also demonstrated that the operative extent was not an independent predictor of recurrence (HR 1.686, 95% CI: 0.321–8.852). Subgroup analyses further indicated that both total thyroidectomy and thyroid lobectomy resulted in comparable RFS for multifocal PTC patients with other high-risk factors, including tumor size > 1 cm (p = 0.711), lymph node metastasis (p = 0.536), and intermediate ATA risk of recurrence (p = 0.682). In conclusion, thyroid lobectomy was not associated with the risk of recurrence in patients with multifocal PTCs. Multifocality in PTC may not always require aggressive surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number432
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Lobectomy
  • Multifocality
  • Operative extent
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma


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