Is biopsy enough for papillary thyroid microcarcinoma?: An analysis of the SEER database 2004 to 2013 with propensity score matching

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Abstract

The treatment of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC) remains deeply controversial. In this study, we investigated the prognosis of patients who underwent biopsy alone, as compared with other forms of thyroidectomy approaches. We sought to provide reference information for treatment selection in cases of PTMC.

The analysis included a large cohort of 34,972 PTMC patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database between 2004 and 2013. Survival was examined by Kaplan-Meier analyses with log-rank tests, Cox proportional-hazards regression analyses, and propensity score matching analyses.

In the study cohort, the rate of cancer-specific mortality per 1000 person-years was higher for patients who underwent biopsy alone than for those who underwent other surgical approaches. According to multivariate Cox regression analyses, patients undergoing biopsy had similar cancer-specific survival rates and higher all-cause survival rates in comparison with patients undergoing other surgical approaches. After matching for influential factors using propensity scores, Kaplan-Meier analyses also showed that patients undergoing biopsy had similar cancer-specific survival rates and lower all-cause survival rates in comparison with patients undergoing other surgical approaches.

Our results provided helpful implications for the treatment of patients with PTMC.

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