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Revista do Colégio Brasileiro de Cirurgiões

Print version ISSN 0100-6991On-line version ISSN 1809-4546


ARAUJO FILHO, Vergilius J. F. et al. Follicular thyroid carcinoma: retrospective study. Rev. Col. Bras. Cir. [online]. 2001, vol.28, n.5, pp.319-322. ISSN 1809-4546.

BACKGROUND: Unlike papillary carcinoma, there are limited data regarding diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with follicular thyroid carcinoma. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed data on 38 patients submitted to thyroidectomy for exclusive follicular carcinoma over a 10 years period. Mean follow-up was 39 months (114 months the longest). Nine patients were males (23,7%) and 29 females (76,3%). Mean age was 49.5 (19 to 87 years). RESULTS: Thirty-three (86,8%) patients presented at least one symptom such as dyspnea, dysphagia or hoarseness. Seventeen (58,6%) patients had a solitary nodule shown by ultrasonography and 23 (79,3%) had "cold" nodules by scintigraphy. Twenty-seven patients underwent were submitted to fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNA), which revealed a follicular neoplasm (benign or malignant) in 24 (88,9%) patients, goiter in 1(3,7%) and papillary carcinoma in 2 cases (7,4%). Total thyroidectomy was the final treatment in 34 patients and neck dissection operation was required in 3 cases. Only 13,1% of the patients were diagnosed as having follicular carcinoma by intraoperative frozen section. Two patients died from the tumor and 5 patients remain alive with the tumor all of them with distant metastasis. Elevation of serum levels of thyroglobulin correlated with metastasis in 100% of those cases. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that follicular thyroid carcinoma usually presents as a solitary nodule diagnosed as a follicular neoplasm by FNA biopsy. Intra-operatory frozen section rarely confirms the diagnosis. O treatment of choice for thyroid follicular cancer total thyroidectomy followed by complementary therapy (radioiodine therapy) if necessary. We advocate total thyroidectomy because it is assumited with a better follow-up and avoids growth of subclinical lesions on the opposite lobe. Outcome is good in the majority of cases.

Keywords : Thyroid; Follicular carcinoma.

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