[Surgical treatment of metastases from thyroid cancer in the axial skeleton. A retrospective study of 18 cases]

Published online: Oct 27 2000

C Court, Z Noun, O Gagey, and J Y Nordin.

Service d'Orthopédie et de Traumatologie, Hôpital Bicêtre, Le Kremlin Bicêtre, France.


Between 1990 and 1997, 18 patients with a mean age of 55.5 years (11 females, 7 males) underwent surgical treatment for a metastasis from thyroid cancer involving the axial skeleton. At the time of surgery all patients had a poor prognosis: 7 metastases revealed the thyroid cancer, all 18 patients had a neurological or mechanical complication, 9 had multiple metastases, all were over 40 years of age. After arteriography with embolization, the surgical procedure consisted of curettage of the tumor and reconstruction, followed by treatment with iodine 131. The survival rate 3 years after surgery was 50%. At the last review, the functional outcome was good and 17 patients had total neurological recovery. Four complications occurred: 1 operative hemorrhage, 3 postoperative infections. Four patients had local recurrence of the metastasis with a one-year survival rate of 20%. When the thyroid cancer was revealed by the axial metastasis, the 3-year-survival rate was 42%. In cases with huge metastases, the 3-year-survival rate was 71%. It appears from these data that surgical treatment of metastases from thyroid cancer in the axial skeleton still achieves a good functional outcome even in cases where neurological or mechanical complications had occurred before surgery.