Comparison of efficacy and complications between radiofrequency ablation and repeat surgery in the treatment of locally recurrent thyroid cancers: a single-center propensity score matching study

Yangsean Choi, So Lyung Jung, Ja-Sung Bae, So-Hee Lee, Chan-Kwon Jung, Jinhee Jang, Na-Young Shin, Hyun Seok Choi, Kook-Jin Ahn, Bum-Soo Kim
International Journal of Hyperthermia 2019, 36 (1): 359-367

PURPOSE: To compare the efficacy and complication rates of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and repeat surgery in the treatment of locally recurrent thyroid cancers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 221 patients with locally recurrent thyroid cancers who underwent either RFA (n = 96) or repeat surgery (n = 125) between March 2008 and March 2017 were retrospectively enrolled (range of follow-up, 1-10 years). Each cohort consisted of 70 patients after propensity score adjustment. Patients with more than three recurrent lesions were excluded. The primary and secondary end points were recurrence-free survival and complication rates, respectively. Recurrence-free survival curves were compared via the log-rank test. The complications-voice changes, hypocalcemia, and immediate procedural complications-were compared between the groups. In addition, pretreatment serum thyroglobulin (Tg ) levels and those at the last follow-up were also compared between the two groups to examine therapeutic efficacy.

RESULTS: After propensity score matching, both groups showed no significant differences in baseline characteristics. The recurrence-free survival rates were comparable between the RFA and surgery groups (p = .2). There were no significant differences in mean serum Tg levels and their mean decrease after treatment between the groups (p = .891 and p = .963, respectively). Immediate procedural complications and voice changes also showed no significant between-group differences (p = .316, p = .084, respectively). Hypocalcemia occurred only in the repeat surgery group (n = 18). Overall complications were significantly more frequent in the repeat surgery group (RFA, n = 7; surgery, n = 27; p < .001).

CONCLUSION: RFA may be an effective and safe alternative to repeat surgery in the treatment of a small number of locally recurrent thyroid cancers.

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