In the treatment of T1N0M0 papillary thyroid carcinoma, the rates of disease progression and complications were not shown to be significantly different between microwave ablation and surgical resection.
Microwave ablation (MWA) has attracted interest as a minimally invasive treatment for papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). However, comparisons between MWA and surgical resection (SR) in the management of T1N0M0 PTC are rare.
To compare the technical effectiveness, disease progression, and complications of MWA and SR for solitary T1N0M0 PTC.
This retrospective study was conducted in a single center. A total of 1029 patients with T1N0M0 PTC treated with either MWA or SR from January 2015 to May 2021 were studied and divided into two groups according to treatment modality. Propensity score matching and inverse probability of treatment weighting were used to control for confounding factors. Disease progression was analyzed in T1N0M0 PTCs as well as T1a and T1b subgroups by using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards regression models.
A total of 404 patients (mean age, 43 years ± 12 [SD]; 289 women; 337 with T1a PTC) underwent MWA, and 625 (mean age, 46 years ± 12; 495 women; 521 with T1a PTC) underwent SR. During the follow-up (median, 25 months; IQR, 7–61 months), there was no evidence of differences regarding disease progression in T1N0M0 (4.0% vs 4.0%; P = .97), T1a (3.4% vs 3.8%; P = .89), or T1b PTCs (6.8% vs 5.0%; P = .72). Compared with SR, MWA resulted in less blood loss (2 mL vs 10 mL) and a shorter procedure time (23 minutes vs 72 minutes) (both P < .001). The rate of major complications was 5.4% (19 of 350 patients) in the MWA group and 6.3% (22 of 350 patients) in the SR group (P = .75). Permanent hoarseness only occurred in the SR group (1.7%; P = .03).
For T1a and T1b solitary T1N0M0 papillary thyroid carcinomas, there was no evidence of differences regarding disease progression and major complications between microwave ablation and surgical resection.