The tall cell variant (TCV) of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is an aggressive variant of PTC that is believed to have worse outcomes than classical PTC. The objective of this study was to investigate the incidence, survival, and disease recurrence of patients with TCV and compare them with other PTC in a whole population.
Information on all thyroid carcinomas diagnosed in Iceland from 1990 to 2009 was obtained from the Icelandic Cancer Registry. PTC diagnosed postmortem was excluded. The date of diagnosis, sex, and age at diagnosis were registered. All histopathology material was re-evaluated, and papillary thyroid tumors classified as either TCV or other types of PTC. Tumors were classified as TCV if >50% of cells were tall (height > twice the width). TNM stage was determined for all the cases. Endpoints were thyroid cancer-specific death and thyroid cancer recurrence.
Out of 376 patients diagnosed with PTC in the study period, 49 (13%) were classified as TCV. Patients with TCV were older (66 years vs. 49 years, p