Purpose: Numerous studies in the past have mentioned various factors that influence the recurrence of papillary thyroid carcinoma, including age, tumor size, advanced stage, extrathyroidal extension, and distant metastasis, and attempts have been made to classify the disease into low-risk and high-risk group based on these clinicopathological factors. However, there has been relatively scarce study on patients with multiple recurrent papillary thyroid carcinoma. This study analyzed the risk factors associated with such cases. Materials and methods: This study investigated various clinicopathological factors of 416 patients who were diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma and received primary surgery at Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine, Department of Surgery, from January 1983 to December 2006 and were followed up until October 2010. An investigation of factors associated with patients showing multiple recurrences was made. Results: Patients were divided into 3 groups: group 1 (no recurrence, n = 380), group 2 (1 recurrence only, n = 21), and group 3 (multiple recurrences, n = 15). The univariate analysis on risk factors revealed tumor size greater than 2 cm, multifocality, clinical apparent lymph node metastasis to be risk factors associated with multiple recurrences of papillary thyroid carcinoma. A multivariate analysis performed on variables selected from univariate analysis demonstrated no significant risk factor. The 10-year disease-specific survival for 3 different patient groups (group 1, 2, and 3) was 100%, 100%, and 83.1%, respectively, and patients in more clinically advanced group demonstrated poorer prognosis (p < 0.001). The 10-year overall survival rate for the 3 patient groups was 93.9%, 100%, and 92%, respectively, and clinically advanced groups tended to show poorer overall survival rate as well (p = 0.046). Discussion: A more aggressive and extensive surgery, as well as closer follow up, is to be required when operating on patients with tumor size greater than 2 cm, multifocality, clinical apparent lymph node metastasis. The use of imaging modalities, such as ultrasonography and PET-CT scan, may be desirable when monitoring such patients.
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