Recently, lymph node ratio (LNR) has emerged as an alternative to American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) N stage, with superior prognostic value. The utility of LNR in Middle Eastern papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) remains unknown. Therefore, we retrospectively analyzed a large cohort of 1407 PTC patients for clinicopathological associations of LNR.
Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve was used to determine the cut-off for LNR. We also performed multivariate logistic regression analysis to determine whether LNR or AJCC N stage was superior in predicting recurrence in PTC.
Based on ROC curve analysis, a cut-off of 0.15 was chosen for LNR. High LNR was significantly associated with adverse clinicopathological characteristics such as male sex, extrathyroidal extension, lymphovascular invasion, multifocality, bilateral tumors, T4 tumors, lateral lymph node (N1b) involvement, distant metastasis, advanced tumor stage, American Thyroid Association (ATA) high-risk category and tumor recurrence. On multivariate analysis, we found that LNR was a better predictor of tumor recurrence than AJCC N stage (odds ratio: 1.96 vs 1.30; P value: 0.0184 vs 0.3831). We also found that LNR combined with TNM stage and ATA risk category improved the prediction of recurrence-free survival, compared to TNM stage or ATA risk category alone.
The present study suggests LNR is an independent predictor of recurrence in Middle Eastern PTC. Integration of LNR with 8th edition AJCC TNM staging system and ATA risk stratification will improve the accuracy to predict recurrence in Middle Eastern PTC and help in tailoring treatment and surveillance strategies in these patients.