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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Skip metastases in thyroid cancer leaping the central lymph node compartment.

HYPOTHESIS: Discontinuous nodal metastasis, or skip metastasis, in thyroid cancer may display clinicopathologic features different from those seen in continuous nodal metastasis and thus may have a different prognosis. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis. SETTING: Tertiary referral center at a university hospital. PATIENTS: Two hundred fifteen consecutive patients who underwent systematic central lymph node dissection for papillary, follicular, or medullary thyroid cancer and who on histopathologic analysis exhibited nodal metastases in at least 1 lateral or mediastinal lymph node compartment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Various clinicopathologic variables that were stratified for tumor entity and type of nodal metastasis (discontinuous vs continuous). RESULTS: Skip metastases (negative central and positive lateral or mediastinal compartments) were found in 13 (19.7%) of 66 papillary, 0 of 8 follicular, and 30 (21.3%) of 141 medullary thyroid cancers. After adjustment for multiple testing, skip metastasis was only associated with significantly fewer positive lymph nodes: 3.7 vs 12.9 nodes (r = -0.43, P<.001) in papillary thyroid cancer and 6.0 vs 17.1 nodes (r = -0.40, P<.001) in medullary thyroid cancer. No other significant correlation was identified with any other clinicopathologic variable. CONCLUSIONS: Skip metastasis is an epiphenomenon of low-intensity nodal metastasis in thyroid cancer and entails a moderate risk of local recurrence. Consequently, clearing the central lymph node compartment should be considered when lateral or mediastinal lymph node compartments are involved.[1]


  1. Skip metastases in thyroid cancer leaping the central lymph node compartment. Machens, A., Holzhausen, H.J., Dralle, H. Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960) (2004) [Pubmed]
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