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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2011, Article ID 705305, 6 pages
Review Article

Well-Differentiated Thyroid Carcinomas: Management of the Central Lymph Node Compartment and Emerging Biochemical Markers

1Endocrine Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Brighton, Melbourne, VIC 3186, Australia
2Divisions of General Surgery and Surgical Oncology, Departments of Surgery and Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 2T9

Received 30 June 2011; Accepted 7 August 2011

Academic Editor: Michiel W. M. van den Brekel

Copyright © 2011 Meei J. Yeung and Janice L. Pasieka. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Well-differentiated thyroid cancers (WDTCs) are generally indolent cancers that are associated with a low mortality. Although the incidence of these tumors is increasing, there has not been an associated increase in the mortality rates. As we gain a greater understanding and more experience with these good prognosis cancers, the way in which we treat these tumors is evolving. The definition of persistent or recurrent disease has seen a shift from being a clinical and/or radiological diagnosis to now one based on a biochemical blood marker, thyroglobulin. Central lymph node metastases are a very common problem in WDTC, being present in up to 90% of patients. The optimal surgical management of the central lymph node compartment remains a hotly debated topic. This paper identifies these controversies and presents available data surrounding these issues. Biochemical tumor markers are gaining wider use in practice and in time hopefully provide more specific information with which surgical decision-making can be based. A summary of the clinically available markers is presented.