Ethanol Ablation for Benign Thyroid and Parathyroid Cysts

Percutaneous Ethanol Injection for Treatment of Cervical Lymph Node Metastases in Patients with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma

The objective of this study was to evaluate the technique, efficacy, and side effects of percutaneous ethanol injection in patients with limited cervical nodal metastases from papillary thyroid carcinoma.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Fourteen patients who had undergone thyroidectomy for papillary thyroid carcinoma presented with limited nodal metastases (one to five involved nodes) in the neck between May 1993 and April 2000. All patients had received previous iodine-131 ablative therapy with a mean total dose per patient of 7,548 MBq. Ten of the patients either were considered poor surgical candidates or preferred not to have surgery, and all were unresponsive to iodine-131 therapy. Each metastatic lymph node was treated with percutaneous ethanol injection, and patients received both clinical and sonographic follow-up.

Twenty-nine metastatic lymph nodes in our 14 patients were injected. Mean sonographic follow-up was 18 months (range, from 2 months to 6 years 5 months). All treated lymph nodes decreased in volume from a mean of 492 mm3 before percutaneous ethanol injection to a mean volume of 76 mm3 at 1 year and 20 mm3 at 2 years after treatment. Six nodes were re-treated 2-12 months after initial percutaneous ethanol injection because of persistent flow on color Doppler sonography (n = 4), stable size (n = 1), or increased size (n = 1). Two patients developed four new metastatic nodes during the follow-up period that were amenable to percutaneous ethanol injection. Two patients developed innumerable metastatic nodes that precluded retreatment with percutaneous ethanol injection. No major complications occurred. All patients experienced long-term local control of metastatic lymph nodes treated by percutaneous ethanol injection. In 12 of 14 patients, percutaneous ethanol injection was successful in controlling all known metastatic adenopathy.

Sonographically guided percutaneous ethanol injection is a valuable treatment option for patients with limited cervical nodal metastases from papillary thyroid cancer who are not amenable to further surgical or radioiodine therapy.

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