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Risk factors for tumor enlargement in low-risk papillary thyroid microcarcinoma patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Endocrine 2024 April 11
PURPOSE: The current management guidelines for low-risk papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) do not specify how to screen for growing tumors. We sought to explore the possible risk factors for tumor enlargement in patients with low-risk PTMC under active surveillance (AS).

METHODS: We searched the PubMed and Embase databases for high quality studies up to January 10th, 2024. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) was used to assess the quality of the included studies, and Review Manager 5.4 was used to analyze possible risk factors and calculate pooled risk ratios (RRs) via the inverse-variance calculation method.

RESULTS: Eleven studies were included in our meta-analysis. Among the 8880 participants, 464 experienced tumor growth, and the incidence of tumor growth varied from 3.4% to 19.4%. The results of the meta-analysis showed that tumor enlargement was associated with younger age (pooled RR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1.85-2.90, p < 0.00001; 8 studies), and higher serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels (pooled RR = 2.28, 95% CI = 1.19-4.37, p = 0.01; 6 studies), and could be related to pregnancy (pooled RR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.17-5.52, p = 0.02; 2 studies). However, these following factors showed no significant association with tumor growth: sex (pooled RR = 1.07, 95% CI = 0.63-1.84, p = 0.79; 7 studies), tumor size at diagnosis (pooled RR = 1.08, 95% CI = 0.63-1.85, p = 0.77; 5 studies), and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) (pooled RR = 1.56, 95% CI = 0.93-2.60, p = 0.09; 2 studies).

CONCLUSION: Our analysis identified that younger age and higher serum TSH levels were higher risk factors for tumor enlargement in low-risk PTMC patients. Pregnancy is a suspected risk factor.

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