Clinical significance of papillary thyroid carcinoma with solid/trabecular growth

Sara Lomelino Pinheiro, Pedro Miranda Afonso, Inês Lemos Damásio, Joana Simões-Pereira, Tiago Nunes da Silva, Valeriano Leite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The clinical relevance of solid/trabecular (ST) growth in papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is unclear. In this study, we investigated the impact of any amount of ST growth on tumour characteristics and patient outcomes. Furthermore, we evaluated whether ST growth per se affected patients' prognosis in the absence of aggressive features, namely vascular invasion. Design: We analysed 222 PTC patients followed up for more than 5 years in the Department of Endocrinology of the Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil from 2002 to 2020. All PTC cases with any percentage of ST growth were included and compared with PTC without ST growth (1:2). Carcinomas with high-grade features were excluded. Results: There were 74 PTC cases with ST growth and 148 without ST growth (median follow-up of 9.3 years). PTC-ST was associated with larger tumour size (p = 0.001) and increased frequency of vascular invasion (p < 0.001) compared with PTC. However, PTC-ST did not exhibit a higher incidence of extrathyroidal extension (p = 1.000) or lymph node metastasis (p = 0.433). Despite the significantly higher prevalence of distant metastasis in PTC-ST compared with PTC (p = 0.043), the significance is lost when the cases with vascular invasion were excluded (p = 0.347). The total radioiodine activity was higher in PTC-ST than in PTC (p = 0.008). Recurrence rates were similar between groups (p = 0.755). The 10-year overall survival and disease-free survival rates for PTC-ST were 94.6% and 98.6%, respectively, similar to the PCT without ST growth (p = 0.097 and p = 0.333, respectively). There was no evidence of an association between the presence of an ST component (p = 0.201) with the risk of death or recurrence, whereas the presence of distant metastasis significantly increased the risk of these events (hazard ratio 10.14, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The presence of ST growth was associated with several aggressive clinicopathological features. However, the risk of cancer recurrence and death for PTC-ST were similar to PTC. In the absence of vascular invasion, the clinical impact of ST growth alone is negligible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335 - 341
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number3
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • clinicopathologic features
  • outcomes
  • papillary thyroid cancer
  • recurrence
  • solid/trabecular growth


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