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.
- Operative extent
- Papillary thyroid carcinoma