Radiation-induced well-differentiated thyroid cancer: Disease characteristics and survival

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Radiation exposure is a well-known risk factor for well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC). However, disease characteristics, optimal treatment, time from exposure to disease appearance, and the effect of age at initial exposure on the outcome have yet to be determined. Objectives: To identify the characteristics of radiation-induced thyroid carcinoma. Methods: We retrieved the charts of all patients previously exposed to radiation who were diagnosed with WDTC between the years 1985 and 2013 in a tertiary referral center. Results: Forty-four patients were reviewed. Median time from radiation exposure to diagnosis was 23 years. These patients had higher rates of aerodigestive symptoms and distant metastases on presentation than seen in non-radiated patients. Patients who were exposed to radiation before age 15 years tended to develop the disease at a younger age but had a longer latency period (34.7± 15.3 vs. 16.3± 10 years, P < 0.001) and none had significantly higher rates of vocal cord palsy, hoarseness on presentation, or aggressive variants on histology compared to patients exposed to radiation at an older age. Disease-specific survival (DSS) was the same for both groups and were similar to that seen in the general population (95% 20 year DSS). Conclusions: Radiation-induced thyroid cancer has a more aggressive presentation and the age at exposure affects the presentation of disease. Nonetheless, appropriate treatment leads to a favorable prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-94
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume18
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2016

Keywords

  • Papillary carcinoma
  • Radiation exposure
  • Thyroid cancer

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