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Tall cell variant (TCV) of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) shows a poorer prognosis than conventional PTC. The World Health Organization (WHO) classification defines TCV as the tall cell component (TCC) in ≥50% of PTC lesions. We investigated whether and how the proportion of TCC affects the prognosis of patients with PTC with TCC. Seventy patients with TCC in ≥30% of their PTC lesions and 210 age- and gender-matched controls with no TCC who underwent locally curative surgery at Kuma Hospital (2006-2014) were enrolled. The 70 PTC patients were divided into two categories: TCC ≥50% (TCC-major, n = 19) and TCC 30-49% (TCC-minor, n = 51). We performed univariate and multivariate analyses of the relationships between disease-free survival (DFS) and variables including the TCC proportion in 276 patients who had no distant metastases at surgery (median follow-up 64 months). In the univariate analysis, TCC-major, TCC-minor, old age (≥65 years), clinical node metastasis, significant extrathyroid extension (Ex), and high Ki-67 labeling index (≥5%) significantly affected the DFS. In the multivariate analysis, TCC-major and Ex independently affected the DFS, but TCC-minor did not. In an analysis excluding TCC-major patients, TCC-minor was not an independent prognostic factor for DFS. Studies or larger patient series with longer follow-ups are necessary, but we speculate that in PTC with TCC, TCC-major significantly and independently affects the DFS, whereas TCC-minor does not. Our findings indicate that the WHO definition of TCV is appropriate and that the prognostic impact of TCC-minor is limited.


Yasuhiro Ito, Mitsuyoshi Hirokawa, Akira Miyauchi, Takuya Higashiyama, Minoru Kihara, Akihiro Miya. Prognostic Significance of the Proportion of Tall Cell Components in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. World journal of surgery. 2017 Mar;41(3):742-747

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PMID: 27807709

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