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Authors Schneider DF, Mazeh H, Chen H, Sippel RS
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Journal Oncologist Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Pages: 157-62
Publish Date 2013
PubMed ID 23345543
PMC ID 3579599

Lymph node metastasis occurs in 20%-50% of patients presenting for initial treatment of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). The significance of lymph node metastases remains controversial, and the aim of this study is to determine how the lymph node ratio (LNR) may predict the likelihood of disease recurrence.We conducted a retrospective review of patients undergoing total thyroidectomy for PTC at our institution from 2005 to 2010. A total LNR (positive nodes to total nodes) and central lymph node ratio (cLNR) was calculated. Regression was used to determine a threshold LNR that best predicted recurrence. Multivariate logistic regression then determined the influence of LNR on recurrence while accounting for other known predictors of recurrence. Kaplan-Meier analysis and the log-rank test were used to compare differences in disease-free survival.Of the 217 patients undergoing total thyroidectomy for PTC, 69 patients had concomitant neck dissections. Sixteen (23.2%) patients developed disease recurrence. When disease-free survival functions were compared, we found that patients with a total LNR ≥0.7 (p < .01) or a cLNR ≥0.86 (p = .04) had significantly worse disease-free survival rates than patients with ratios below these threshold values. Considering other known predictors of recurrence, we found that LNR was significantly associated with recurrence (odds ratio: 19.5, 95% confidence interval: 4.1-22.9; p < .01).Elevated total LNR and cLNR are strongly associated with recurrence of PTC after initial operation. LNR in PTC is a tool that can be used to determine the likelihood of the patient developing recurrent disease and inform postoperative follow-up.

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