Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 49 EP1451 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.49.EP1451

Comparative analysis of clinicopathological characteristics between Korean and Italian thyroid cancer patients

Jee Hyun An1, Sin Gon Kim1, Hoon Yub Kim2, Kwang Yoon Jung3, Yang Seok Chae4, Gianlorenzo Dionigi5, Stefano Rausei5, Maria Laura Tanda6, Eliana Piantanida6 & Stefano La Rosa7


1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, KUMC Thyroid Center, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Surgery, KUMC Thyroid Center, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 3Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, KUMC Thyroid Center, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 4Department of Pathology, KUMC Thyroid Center, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; 5Endocrine Unit, 1st Division of General Surgery, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Research Center for Endocrine Surgery, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy; 6Endocrine Unit, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy; 7Institute of Pathology, University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland.


Background: The incidence of thyroid cancer in South Korea has increased rapidly. Increase in medical surveillance and access to health care services have enhanced the detection of asymptomatic tumors. We investigated the differences of tumor characteristics between South Korean patients and Northern Italian patients subject to different healthcare systems.

Methods: The demographic, histopathologic and management features of thyroid cancer operated in two tertiary referral hospitals in Seoul, South Korea (n=4,474) and Varese, Northern Italy (n=2,897) from years 2000 to 2015 were analyzed.

Results: The mean age of diagnosis was similar (49 years) among the Korean and Italian patients. However, the proportion of female was higher among Korean patients (81.3 vs 74.2%, P<0.001). The proportion of papillary subtype was higher (99.2 vs 92.6%, P<0.001) and the size of tumor was smaller (1.03±0.83 vs 1.79±1.01 cm, P<0.001) in the Korean subjects. Interestingly, the prevalence of multifocality (37.8 vs 8.2%), extrathyroidal extension (41.6 vs 13.1%) and lymph node metastasis (34.8 vs 6.7%) was also higher in the Korean patients (P<0.001). Most of the Italian cases received total thyroidectomy (96.0%). In comparison, a considerable number of the Koreans (21.9%) received hemithyroidectomy as initial surgical treatment (P<0.001). The proportion of the patients who received radioactive iodine therapy was significantly higher among the Korean patients (53.3 vs 29.7%, P<0.001).

Conclusion: We have identified distinct lineaments of thyroid gland cancer between the two different nationalities which could not be explained entirely by early detection from screening. Further prospective studies with controlled treatment strategies are needed to determine long-term prognosis.