Characteristics of contralateral carcinomas in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer larger than 1 cm

Lutske Lodewijk, Wouter P. Kluijfhout, Jakob W. Kist, Inge Stegeman, John T. M. Plukker, Els J. Nieveen van Dijkum, H. Jaap Bonjer, Nicole D. Bouvy, Abbey Schepers, Johannes H. W. de Wilt, Romana T. Netea-Maier, Jos A. van der Hage, Jacobus W. A. Burger, Gavin Ho, Wayne S. Lee, Wen T. Shen, Anna Aronova, Rasa Zarnegar, Cassandre Benay, Elliot J. MitmakerMark S. Sywak, Ahmad M. Aniss, Schelto Kruijff, Benjamin James, Raymon H. Grogan, Laurent Brunaud, Guillaume Hoch, Chiara Pandolfi, Daniel T. Ruan, Michael D. Jones, Marlon A. Guerrero, Gerlof D. Valk, Inne H. M. Borel Rinkes, Menno R. Vriens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review



Traditionally, total thyroidectomy has been advocated for patients with tumors larger than 1 cm. However, according to the ATA and NCCN guidelines (2015, USA), patients with tumors up to 4 cm are now eligible for lobectomy. A rationale for adhering to total thyroidectomy might be the presence of contralateral carcinomas. The purpose of this study was to describe the characteristics of contralateral carcinomas in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) larger than 1 cm.


A retrospective study was performed including patients from 17 centers in 5 countries. Adults diagnosed with DTC stage T1b-T3 N0-1a M0 who all underwent a total thyroidectomy were included. The primary endpoint was the presence of a contralateral carcinoma.


A total of 1313 patients were included, of whom 426 (32 %) had a contralateral carcinoma. The contralateral carcinomas consisted of 288 (67 %) papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC), 124 (30 %) follicular variant of a papillary thyroid carcinoma (FvPTC), 5 (1 %) follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTC), and 3 (1 %) Hürthle cell carcinomas (HTC). Ipsilateral multifocality was strongly associated with the presence of contralateral carcinomas (OR 2.62). Of all contralateral carcinomas, 82 % were ≤10 mm and of those 99 % were PTC or FvPTC. Even if the primary tumor was a FTC or HTC, the contralateral carcinoma was (Fv)PTC in 92 % of cases.


This international multicenter study performed on patients with DTC larger than 1 cm shows that contralateral carcinomas occur in one third of patients and, independently of primary tumor subtype, predominantly consist of microPTC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-373
JournalLangenbeck's Archives of Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Differentiated thyroid carcinoma
  • Contralateral carcinoma
  • Papillary microcarcinoma
  • Surgical strategy


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