The following is a summary of “External beam radiotherapy for thyroid cancer: Patients, complications, and survival,” published in the JUNE 2023 issue of Surgery by Goodsell, et al.
There was a lack of comprehensive understanding regarding the utilization patterns of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) in thyroid cancer. For a study, researchers sought to characterize the therapeutic intent, complications, and survival outcomes associated with EBRT in thyroid cancer treatment.
A retrospective analysis was conducted on 105 thyroid cancer patients who received EBRT at a single institution between 2008 and 2018. The primary outcome measure was overall survival, while secondary outcomes included incomplete treatment, emergency department (ED) visits, weight change, and gastrostomy placement.
The majority of patients had differentiated histopathology (44%), followed by anaplastic (45%) and poorly differentiated (11%) disease. EBRT was primarily utilized for locoregional control, with percentages varying across histopathologies (differentiated 87%, poorly differentiated 75%, anaplastic 92%). Palliative EBRT was more commonly employed in poorly-differentiated diseases (42%). Patients with aggressive/advanced disease experienced greater weight loss (differentiated 10 lb, poorly differentiated 27 lb, anaplastic 18 lb). Anaplastic cancer had higher rates of gastrostomy placement (34%) and the lowest treatment completion rates (83%). ED encounters were frequent among all histopathologies (differentiated 44%, poorly differentiated 50%, anaplastic 45%). Gastrostomy placement was associated with mortality in non-anaplastic malignancies according to multivariable analysis.
EBRT was predominantly administered for the purpose of locoregional control in thyroid cancer. Despite the presence of complications, the majority of patients successfully completed their EBRT therapy.