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Pediatric Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: When to Perform Conservative and Radical Surgery

[ Vol. 12 , Issue. 4 ]


Claudio Spinelli, Leonardo Rossi, Jessica Piscioneri, Silvia Strambi, Alessandro Antonelli, Andrea Ferrari, Maura Massimino and Paolo Miccoli   Pages 247 - 252 ( 6 )


Thyroid tumors affect all age groups, including children and adolescents. Malignant cancer of the thyroid is a relatively uncommon disease in pediatric age. In the recent decades the incidence of paediatric differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) has increased. DTC in paediatric age is rare and has an excellent prognosis.

Compared to adult counterpart, DTC in childhood presents some different features as follows: larger volume at the diagnosis, more frequent multicentricity (both mono- and bilateral), earlier local involvement of soft tissue of the neck, earlier lymph node involvement, distant metastases 3-4 times more frequent (most often in the lungs and almost always functional) and more common post-operatory recurrence; nevertheless, the prognosis of DTC in childhood is better and the survival greater than in adult.

Because of unusual association between aggressive presentation and good prognosis, the choice about the surgical treatment to perform in DTC is debatable, especially between conservative and radical approach in TNM stage I pediatric patients. To date, total thyroidectomy is the operation most often performed in children with DTC, although recently conservative surgery has been performed in solitary unifocal nodule without evidence distant metastases.


Adolescent surgery, pediatric age, pediatric surgery, thyroid cancer.


Department of Surgical, Medical, Pathological, Molecular and Critic Area, University of Pisa, Via Paradisa 2, 56124 Pisa, Italy.

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