Optimal cut-off age in the TNM Staging system of differentiated thyroid cancer: is 55 years better than 45 years?


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: Age >45 years is included as a variable in the tumor, node, metastases (TNM) staging of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), but a higher cut-off value has been suggested to be more clinically relevant and prevent over-staging. We evaluated the optimal age cut-off to predict disease-specific survival (DSS) in patients with DTC. DESIGN AND PATIENTS: This cohort study included 6333 patients with DTC who underwent thyroid surgery at two tertiary referral centres between 1996 and 2005. The optimal age cut-off value between 45 and 65 years for prediction of DSS was assessed. The proportion of variation explained (PVE) and Harrell's c-index was calculated to compare the predictability of each model. RESULTS: The median age of patients was 46·0 years (IQR 37·8-54·6), and 5498 (87%) were female. Median follow-up period was 10·0 years, and 10-year DSS rate was 98%. Using TNM staging with 45 years as the cut-off (TNM45), 10-year DSS rates of stage I-IV were 99·4%, 96·1%, 97·7% and 85·9%, respectively (PVE = 3·0%, Harrell's c-index = 0·693); and using 55 years as the cut-off (TNM55), 99·4%, 92·2%, 95·3% and 79·7%, respectively (PVE = 4·3%, Harrell's c-index = 0·776). On receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, the optimal age cut-off for prediction of DSS was 55·4 years (area under the curve = 0·837, P < 0·001). About 20% of patients were down-staged to stage I using TNM55 compared to that using TNM45. CONCLUSIONS: The cut-off age of 55 years was more appropriate for TNM staging to achieve better predictability for DSS in patients with DTC. This change would prevent over-staging in low-risk patients and prevent over-aggressive treatment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kim, M; Kim, YN; Kim, WG; Park, S; Kwon, H; Jeon, MJ; Ahn, HS; Jung, S-H; Kim, SW; Kim, WB; Chung, JH; Shong, YK; Kim, TH; Kim, TY

Published Date

  • March 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 86 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 438 - 443

PubMed ID

  • 27731521

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27731521

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1365-2265

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/cen.13254


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England