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


Journal Article

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.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.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.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

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0300-0664

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/cen.13254


  • eng