Pediatric thyroid carcinomas that are diagnosed and treated early carried a better prognosis, according to a study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. Tawde and Jeyakumar made the discovery after reviewing trends in pediatric thyroid carcinomas, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.

Thyroid carcinomas are among the most common types of endocrine cancers seen in pediatric patients. The 3 most common histological subtypes of thyroid cancers are papillary, follicular, and papillary follicular; MTCs come in a distant fourth, although prevalence has increased in recent years.

Guidelines for treating thyroid cancers in children are mostly adapted from adult guidelines. Tawde and Jeyakumar wrote, “Our retrospective study aims to fill the gap in literature regarding incidence rate and survival data on pediatric thyroid carcinomas for 2000–2016.” The research team thus studied available literature on the survival rates of pediatric thyroid malignancies. 

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The SEER database offered them a wealth of medical information, including age, race, sex, frequencies of various types of thyroid cancer, survival rates, and more. Tawde and Jeyakumar identified 1175 pediatric patients in the SEER database with thyroid cancers. 

They found that MTCs were most diagnosed in children between the ages of 0 to 9 years, with the highest incidence rate in patients between 0 and 4 years of age. In addition, the researchers reported, “The findings of our study show Surgery Alone shows slightly higher survival rates in pediatric patients than Surgery with Adjuvant Radiation, however this difference is not statistically significant.” They also discovered that all types of thyroid cancer, with the exception of MTCs, had better survival rates of 9 or more years after diagnosis if the patients received treatment (of either method). 

The researchers concluded that pediatric thyroid carcinoma patients of all subtypes who received treatment with surgery alone or surgery with adjuvant radiation had more than 95% disease-specific survival. They wrote, “Early detection and intervention produce favorable outcomes in all pediatric patients for all subtypes.” 


Tawde A, Jeyakumar A. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database update for pediatric thyroid carcinomas incidence and survival trends 2000–2016. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. Published online January 4, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.ijporl.2021.111038