Management of Well-Differentiated Thyroglossal Remnant Thyroid Carcinoma: Time To Close the Debate? Report of Five New Cases and Proposal of a Definitive Algorithm for Treatment

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Thyroid carcinoma is diagnosed in approximately 1% to 2% of thyroglossal duct remnants (TGDR). No definite agreement exists concerning the management of TGDR carcinoma, especially regarding the role of total thyroidectomy and postoperative adjuvant therapy. We report five new cases of TGDR carcinoma and review relevant articles in an attempt to clarify this issue.


We studied the demographic, clinical, tumor-related, treatment, pathologic, and outcome data on five patients treated at our institution for a TGDR carcinoma and compared the results with the four most important series published.


All five patients were women, and diagnosis occurred after surgery in four. The sizes of the papillary tumors were 40, 38, 25, 23, and 15 mm (mean, 28.2 mm; range, 15-40 mm). Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the TGDR had a low sensitivity (positive for one in four). A Sistrunk procedure was performed for resection of the TGDR in four patients, and plain TGDR resection was performed for the other patient. Three patients underwent repeat surgery; total thyroidectomy was performed in all cases, and cervical bilateral node dissection was performed in one case. With a median follow-up of 123.8 months (range, 8-284 months), all the patients are alive and free of disease, with no recurrences.


TGDR carcinoma is a rare malignant tumor that is usually diagnosed after surgery; papillary carcinoma is the most common type. The currently recommended treatment is a Sistrunk procedure, with a tendency to deferred total thyroidectomy in selected cases (similar criteria exist for papillary carcinoma of the thyroid gland). The prognosis is excellent, with a good long-term survival.

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