Open Access Research article

Pediatric differentiated thyroid carcinoma in stage I: risk factor analysis for disease free survival

Nobuyuki Wada12*, Kiminori Sugino1, Takashi Mimura1, Mitsuji Nagahama1, Wataru Kitagawa1, Hiroshi Shibuya1, Keiko Ohkuwa1, Hirotaka Nakayama12, Shohei Hirakawa12, Yasushi Rino2, Munetaka Masuda2 and Koichi Ito1

Author Affiliations

1 Surgical Branch, Ito Hospital, 4-3-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8308, Japan

2 Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University Hospital, 3-9 Fukuura, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa 236-0004, Japan

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:306  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-306

Published: 1 September 2009



To examine the outcomes and risk factors in pediatric differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) patients who were defined as TNM stage I because some patients develop disease recurrence but treatment strategy for such stage I pediatric patients is still controversial.


We reviewed 57 consecutive TNM stage I patients (15 years or less) with DTC (46 papillary and 11 follicular) who underwent initial treatment at Ito Hospital between 1962 and 2004 (7 males and 50 females; mean age: 13.1 years; mean follow-up: 17.4 years). Clinicopathological results were evaluated in all patients. Multivariate analysis was performed to reveal the risk factors for disease-free survival (DFS) in these 57 patients.


Extrathyroid extension and clinical lymphadenopathy at diagnosis were found in 7 and 12 patients, respectively. Subtotal/total thyroidectomy was performed in 23 patients, modified neck dissection in 38, and radioactive iodine therapy in 10. Pathological node metastasis was confirmed in 37 patients (64.9%). Fifteen patients (26.3%) exhibited local recurrence and 3 of them also developed metachronous lung metastasis. Ten of these 15 achieved disease-free after further treatments and no patients died of disease. In multivariate analysis, male gender (p = 0.017), advanced tumor (T3, 4a) stage (p = 0.029), and clinical lymphadenopathy (p = 0.006) were risk factors for DFS in stage I pediatric patients.


Male gender, tumor stage, and lymphadenopathy are risk factors for DFS in stage I pediatric DTC patients. Aggressive treatment (total thyroidectomy, node dissection, and RI therapy) is considered appropriate for patients with risk factors, whereas conservative or stepwise approach may be acceptable for other patients.