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Wenter, Vera; Albert, Nathalie L.; Unterrainer, Marcus; Ahmaddy, Freba; Ilhan, Harun; Jellinek, Annamirl; Knösel, Thomas; Bartenstein, Peter; Spitzweg, Christine; Lehner, Sebastian; Todica, Andrei (2020): Clinical impact of follicular oncocytic (Hürthle cell) carcinoma in comparison with corresponding classical follicular thyroid carcinoma. In: European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging
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Abstract

PURPOSE There are controversial debates if patients with Hürthle cell carcinoma, also known as oxyphilic or oncocytic cell follicular thyroid carcinoma, have a poorer outcome. In this study, we systematically evaluated the clinical outcome in a large patient cohort following thyroidectomy and initial I-131 radioactive iodine therapy (RIT). METHODS We retrospectively evaluated a total of 378 patients with diagnosed oncocytic follicular Hürthle cell carcinoma (OFTC) (N = 126) or with classical follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC) (N = 252). Patients received thyroidectomy and complementary I-131 RIT. Clinical data regarding basic demographic characteristics, tumor grade, persistent disease and recurrence during follow-up, and disease-free, disease-specific, and overall survival were collected during follow-up of 6.9 years (interquartile range 3.7; 11.7 years). Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify factors associated with disease-related and overall survival. RESULTS Before and after matching for risk factors, recurrence was significantly more frequently diagnosed in OFTC patients during follow-up (17% vs. 8%; p value 0.037). Likewise, OFTC patients presented with a reduced mean disease-free survival of 17.9 years (95% CI 16.0-19.8) vs. 20.1 years (95% CI 19.0-21.1) in FTC patients (p value 0.027). Multivariate analysis revealed OFTC (HR 0.502; 95% CI 0.309-0.816) as the only independent prognostic factor for disease-free survival. Distant metastases of OFTC patients were significantly less iodine-avid (p value 0.014). Mean disease-specific and overall survival did not differ significantly (p value 0.671 and 0.687) during follow-up of median 6.9 years (3.7; 11.7 years). CONCLUSIONS Our study suggests that recurrence is more often seen in OFTC patients. OFTC patients have a poorer prognosis for disease-free survival. Thus, OFTC and FTC behave differently and should be categorized separately. However, patients suffering from OFTC present with the same overall and disease-specific survival at the end of follow-up indifferent to FTC patients after initial RIT.