For patients with differentiated thyroid cancer who will receive postoperative radioactive iodine, thyroid remnant uptake can be calculated and may point to the thoroughness of the surgical resection. In the United States, outcome disparities exist among ethnic/racial minorities with differentiated thyroid cancer. Data about surgical thoroughness and recurrence rates across races/ethnicities do not exist. This study compared the amount of thyroid remnant uptake and cancer recurrence rates across race/ethnicity.
This was a retrospective analysis of adult patients with differentiated thyroid cancer who had postoperative radioactive iodine in 2017 and 2018 and were followed to 2020. We collected thyroid bed remnant uptake from postoperative radioactive iodine scans and analyzed it as a ratio of percent of uptake to dose of radioactive iodine received to control for varying radioactive iodine doses. Thyroid remnant, uptake to dose of radioactive iodine received, and recurrence were evaluated across race/ethnicity.
Of 218 patients: 61% were White, 21% Black, 11% Asian, and 7% Hispanic; 72% were female. Seventy-one percent of patients had their surgery done by a high-volume surgeon, although volume data were not available for all. In White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic patients, median uptake was 0.68%, 0.44%, 1.5%, and 0.8%, respectively (P = .13). We did not observe differences in median uptake to dose of radioactive iodine received across groups (P = .41). Recurrence rate was 17.0% among White patients, 16.7% among Black patients, 17.6% among Asian patients, and 16.7% among Hispanic patients (P = 1.00).
We did not observe differences across race/ethnicity in surgical thoroughness or rate of recurrence. These findings suggest that disparities may be mitigated when ethnic/racial minorities have similar access to quality surgical care.

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