(HealthDay News) — Lymph node density (LND) can help predict outcomes in patients with papillary thyroid cancer, according to a study published online Nov. 30 in JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery .

Moran Amit, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 2,542 patients (median age, 48 years) with PTC who were treated between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2015. Survival and recurrence outcomes were calculated and compared based on LND.

The researchers found that LND >0.19 was independently associated with worse disease-specific survival (DSS; hazard ratio [HR], 4.11) and overall survival (OS; HR, 1.96). LND >0.19 remained a significant marker for DSS (HR, 2.94) and OS (HR, 2.26) after a subgroup analysis of data for patients with 18 or more lymph nodes assessed. Risk stratification improved with incorporation of LND into the current American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system compared with the traditional TNM staging system.

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“Lymph node density can potentially assist in identifying patients with poorer survival who may benefit from more aggressive adjuvant therapy,” conclude the authors.

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