Clinical Research Papers:

Ratio of positive lymph nodes: The prognostic value in stage IV thyroid cancer

Tingyin Jiang, Chunling Huang, Yuan Xu, Yingrui Su, Guanjie Zhang, Long Xie, Liqun Huang, Shuchun You and Jinshun Zha _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:79462-79468. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18402

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Tingyin Jiang1,*, Chunling Huang1,*, Yuan Xu2,*, Yingrui Su1, Guanjie Zhang1, Long Xie1, Liqun Huang1, Shuchun You1 and Jinshun Zha1

1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Second Affiliated Hospital, Fujian Medicine University, Licheng, Quanzhou 362000, China

2Cancer Institute, Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Xuhui, Shanghai 200032, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jinshun Zha, email: [email protected]

Keywords: thyroid cancer, lymph node ratio, survival, stage IV, medullary

Received: March 16, 2017     Accepted: May 23, 2017     Published: June 07, 2017


To assess the prognostic value of lymph node ratio (LNR) in patients with stage IV thyroid cancer based on the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. A total of 4,940 eligible patients were included for the analysis. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to reveal the effect of LNR on overall survival (OS) and disease specific survival (DSS). The optimal cut-off value of LNR for predicting OS and DSS was determined by the time-dependent Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis. By the univariate Cox proportional hazard regression, LNR was significantly associated with OS and DSS in patients with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), papillary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer (all P < 0.05). With the optimal cut-off value, Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that MTC patients with LNR≥76.5% were significantly associated with poorer OS (log-rank test: P < 0.0001), and LNR≥40.7% were significantly associated with poorer DSS (log-rank test: P < 0.0001). LNR was an independent prognostic factor of poorer survival in MTC patients after adjusting for other variables by multivariable Cox analysis (OS: hazard ratio [HR] = 2.560, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.690–3.879, P < 0.0001; DSS: HR=2.781, 95% CI 1.582–4.888, P = 0.0004). Our results demonstrated that LNR could predict clinical outcomes in patients with stage IV MTC, and 76.5% was the optimal cut-off value of LNR to predict OS. LNR, as a function of the nodes positive and the nodes examined, could provide suggestions on the postoperative prognosis of patients with stage IV MTC.

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