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Pedro Marques, Valeriano Leite, and Maria João Bugalho

Background: Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common thyroid cancer. The widespread use of neck ultrasound (US) and US-guided fine-needle aspiration cytology is triggering an overdiagnosis of PTC. Objective: To evaluate clinical behavior and outcomes of patients with PTCs ≤2 cm, seeking for possible prognostic factors. Methods: Clinical records of cases with histological diagnosis of PTC ≤2 cm followed at the Endocrine Department of Instituto Português de Oncologia, Lisbon between 2002 and 2006 were analyzed retrospectively. Results: We identified 255 PTCs, 111 were microcarcinomas. Most patients underwent near-total thyroidectomy, with lymph node dissections in 55 cases (21.6%). Radioiodine therapy was administered in 184 patients. At the last evaluation, 38 (14.9%) had evidence of disease. Two deaths were attributed to PTC. Median (±SD) follow-up was 74 (±23) months. Multivariate analysis identified vascular invasion, lymph node and systemic metastases significantly associated with recurrence/persistence of disease. In addition, lymph node involvement was significantly associated with extrathyroidal extension and angioinvasion. Median (±SD) disease-free survival (DFS) was estimated as 106 (±3) months and the 5-year DFS rate was 87.5%. Univariate Cox analysis identified some relevant parameters for DFS, but multivariate regression only identified lymph node and systemic metastases as significant independent factors. The median DFS estimated for lymph node and systemic metastases was 75 and 0 months, respectively. Conclusions: In the setting of small PTCs, vascular invasion, extrathyroidal extension and lymph node and/or systemic metastases may confer worse prognosis, perhaps justifying more aggressive therapeutic and follow-up approaches in such cases.

Free access

Mafalda Marcelino, Pedro Marques, Luis Lopes, Valeriano Leite, and João Jácome de Castro

A 70-year-old male was referred with hyperthyroidism and multinodular goiter (MNG). Thyroid ultrasonography showed 2 nodules, one in the isthmus and the other in the left lobe, 51 and 38 mm in diameter, respectively. Neck CT showed a large MNG, thyroid scintigraphy showed increased uptake in the nodule in the left lobe, and fine-needle aspiration biopsy showed a benign cytology of the nodule in the isthmus. The patient declined surgery and was treated with methimazole. After being lost to follow-up for 3 years, the patient returned with complaints of dyspnea, dysphagia, and hoarseness; he was still hyperthyroid. Cervical CT showed a large mass in the isthmus and left lobe with invasion of surrounding tissues, the trachea, the esophagus, and the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Bronchoscopy showed extensive infiltration and compression of the trachea to 20% of its caliber. A tracheal biopsy revealed an anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. The tumor was considered unresectable, and radiotherapy was given. One month later, the patient died. The association between a toxic thyroid nodule and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma has apparently not been reported so far.

Open access

Daniela Dias, Inês Damásio, Pedro Marques, Helder Simões, Ricardo Rodrigues, Branca Maria Cavaco, and Valeriano Leite


Treatment of advanced follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) is based primarily on indirect evidence obtained with multikinase inhibitors (MKI) in clinical trials in which papillary carcinomas represent the vast majority of cases. However, it should be noted that MKI have a non-negligible toxicity that may decrease the patient’s quality of life. Conventional chemotherapy with GEMOX (gemcitabine plus oxaliplatin) is an off-label therapy, which seems to have some effectiveness in advanced differentiated thyroid carcinomas, with a good safety profile, although further studies are needed.

Case report

We report a case of a metastatic FTC, resistant to several lines of therapy. However, with a durable response to GEMOX, the overall survival of our patient appears to have been extended significantly due to this chemotherapy.


GEMOX may have a role in patients with thyroid cancer unresponsive to MKI.