The aim of this study was to review the literature of latent papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTCs) discovered at autopsy and describe the available pathologic and demographic differences from a group of papillary thyroid microcarcinomas (PTMCs) the reported in a previous publication. We searched the PubMed for published articles describing latent thyroid carcinomas detected at autopsy. Meta-analysis was performed to identify differences between the clinicopathologic features of PTMCs analyzed previously in our institution (Group I) and those of latent PTCs described in autopsy studies (Group II). We identified 1,355 patients with PTMC (Group I) and 989 with latent PTCs (Group II). Mean patient age was 47.3 yr in Group I and 64.5 yr in Group II. The male:female ratio was 1:10.9 in Group I and 1:1 in Group II. Most PTMCs (67.6%) were larger than 0.5 cm in size, whereas most latent PTCs were < 1-3 mm in diameter. The rates of multifocality were 24.7% in Group I and 30.5% in Group II, and the rates of cervical lymph node metastasis were 33.4% in Group I and 10.0% in Group II. Currently available data indicated that clinically evident PTMCs differ from latent PTCs detected at autopsy. Therefore, these two entities should be regarded as different.
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© 2014 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.
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