Changes in Stage Distribution and Disease-Specific Survival in Differentiated Thyroid Cancer with Transition to American Joint Committee on Cancer 8th Edition: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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The oncologist


BACKGROUND: Recent revision significantly changed the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging criteria for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). To quantitatively evaluate resulting changes in patient stage distribution and the associated disease-specific survival (DSS) incorporating diverse populations, we performed a meta-analysis of studies comparing the AJCC 7th edition (AJCC-7) with 8th edition (AJCC-8) staging for DTC.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: After PROSPERO registration (#CRD42019123657), publications in English reporting DSS of DTC with AJCC-7 and AJCC-8 from inception to June 2019 were identified by search of MEDLINE and PubMed. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to compare differences in survival between AJCC-7 and AJCC-8. Pooled hazard ratios, 10-year DSS, and corresponding interval estimates were calculated for AJCC subgroups. Differences in survival between editions were assessed using subgroup analysis with nonoverlapping confidence intervals indicating statistical significance.

RESULTS: Final analysis included six studies with 10,850 subjects and median follow-up from 55 to 148 months. Use of AJCC-8 shifted classification to earlier stages: stage I, from 60% to 81%; stage II, from 5% to 13%; stage III, from 21% to 2%; stage IV, from 10% to 3%. Ten-year DSS was significantly lower in AJCC-8 versus AJCC-7 in patients with stage II (88.6%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 82.7-94.6% vs. 98.1%, 95% CI 96.6-99.6%, respectively) and stage III disease (70.5%, 95% CI 59.1-83.9% vs. 96.8%, 95% CI 94.1-99.64%, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Meta-analysis of revised AJCC staging for DTC, incorporating diverse populations, demonstrates redistribution of patients toward earlier clinical stages and better stratification of disease-specific mortality risk, specifically among patients now classified with stage II and III disease.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This study provides updated estimates of disease-specific survival for patients with differentiated thyroid cancer determined by the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system that are generalizable to broader populations and support improved stratification using the recently revised criteria.

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ePub ahead of print