The identification of prognostic factors for reduced survival in patients with radioiodine-refractory differentiated thyroid carcinoma (RR-DTC) may improve the selection of patients to receive targeted agents, a new study published online ahead of print in the journal The Oncologist has shown.1

Because outcomes vary among patients with RR-DTC and the prognostic factors for survival are not well-known, researchers sought to evaluate cancer-specific and overall survival in patients with RR-DTC to identify prognostic factors associated with survival.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 153 patients with metastatic DTC who were treated between 1990 and 2011 at a single institution in Paris, France. Of those, 91 were radioiodine-refractory.

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Results showed that after the diagnosis of radioiodine-refractory, median overall survival was 8.9 years (95% CI, 5.4 – NR) and median cancer-specific survival was 9.6 years (95% CI, 6.01 – NR).

Researchers found that progressive disease despite 131I and time from initial diagnosis of DTC to diagnosis of RR-DTC less than 3 years were independent prognostic factors for poor overall and cancer-specific survival.

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“This study shows a great heterogeneity in terms of prognosis in radioiodine refractory differentiated thyroid carcinoma,” the investigators concluded. “Poorer prognosis is observed in patients with tumor progression or with a diagnosis of radioiodine resistance within 3 years after the initial diagnosis of thyroid cancer.”

“Those findings could lead to improvements in the selection of patients for targeted therapies,” they wrote.


  1. Wassermann J, Bernier M-O, Spano J-P, et al. Outcomes and prognostic factors in radioiodine refractory differentiated thyroid carcinomas [published online ahead of print December 16, 2015]. Oncologist. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0107.