Whether chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (CLT) influences the risk of development and the progression of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) remains uncertain. We investigated the effects of CLT on the clinicopathologic features and prognosis of PTC.
Two thousand nine hundred twenty-eight consecutive patients with PTC treated between 2009 and 2017 were divided into two groups: one with chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis and one without; 1174 (40%) of the patients had coincident CLT.
In univariate analysis, CLT correlated positively with small tumor size, frequent extrathyroidal extension, multifocal diseases, and p53 but negatively with central lymph node (LN) metastasis and BRAF mutation. In multivariate analysis, CLT was associated with extrathyroidal extension and multifocal disease; however, it was not a prognostic factor for recurrence even though it was associated with two aggressive factors. Compared with patients with PTC alone, there were more retrieved central LNs in the PTC + CLT group, and these patients also underwent more invasive diagnostic tests such as fine needle aspiration cytology and frozen biopsy of LN.
The CLT patients with PTC had better behavior features and prognoses than did those with PTC alone despite frequent multifocality and extrathyroidal extension. However, precaution may be necessary to avoid performing invasive diagnostic procedures for lateral LN metastasis and to manage the patients appropriately.