Spontaneous remission in thyroid cancer patients after biochemical incomplete response to initial therapy

Fernanda Vaisman, Denise Momesso, Daniel A Bulzico, Cencita H C N Pessoa, Fernando Dias, Rossana Corbo, Mário Vaisman, R Michael Tuttle
Clinical Endocrinology 2012, 77 (1): 132-8

OBJECTIVE: To validate the American Thyroid Association (ATA) initial risk of recurrence scheme and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) response to therapy re-stratification approach in a large cohort of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) treated outside of the United States.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

PATIENTS: Five hundred and six patients with DTC followed for a median of 10 years after total thyroidectomy and RAI remnant ablation at a major cancer centre in Brazil.

MEASUREMENTS: Final clinical outcomes were assessed based on American Joint Cancer Committee (AJCC)/Union Internationale Contre le Cancer (UICC) staging, ATA risk stratification and response to therapy assessment (excellent, acceptable, biochemical incomplete and structural incomplete).

RESULTS: The AJCC/UICC staging system did not adequately stratify patients with regard to the risk of recurrence/persistent disease. However, the ATA system demonstrated a 13% risk of recurrent/persistent disease in low-risk patients, 36% in intermediate risk patients, and 68% in high-risk patients. Furthermore, an excellent response to therapy decreased the risk of recurrent/persistent disease to 1·4%. At the time of final follow-up, 34% of the biochemical incomplete response patients had been re-classified as having no evidence of disease (NED) without having received any additional therapy beyond continue levothyroxine suppression. Conversely, even after additional therapies, only 9% of the patients with an incomplete structural response were eventually re-classified as NED.

CONCLUSIONS: These data validate the ATA risk classification as an excellent initial predictor of recurrent/persistent disease and confirm the clinical utility of the MSKCC dynamic risk assessment system in a cohort of patients evaluated and treated outside the United States.

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