Clinical Safety of Renaming Encapsulated Follicular Variant of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: Is NIFTP Truly Benign?

Research paper by David N DN Parente, Wouter P WP Kluijfhout, Pim J PJ Bongers, Raoul R Verzijl, Karen M KM Devon, Lorne E LE Rotstein, David P DP Goldstein, Sylvia L SL Asa, Ozgur O Mete, Jesse D JD Pasternak

Indexed on: 23 Aug '17Published on: 23 Aug '17Published in: World Journal of Surgery


Renaming encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (EFVPTC) to noninvasive follicular thyroid neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features (NIFTP) was recently suggested to prevent the overtreatment, cost and stigma associated with this low-risk entity. The purpose of this study is to document the incidence and further assess the clinical outcomes of reclassifying EFVPTC to NIFTP.We searched synoptic pathologic reports from a high-volume academic endocrine surgery hospital from 2004 to 2013. The standard of surgical pathology practice was based on complete submission of malignant thyroid nodules along with the nontumorous thyroid parenchyma. Rigid morphological criteria were used for the diagnosis of noninvasive EFVPTC, currently known as NIFTP. A retrospective chart review was conducted looking for evidence of malignant behavior.One hundred and two patients met the strict inclusion criteria of NIFTP. The incidence of NIFTP in our cohort was 2.1% of papillary thyroid cancer cases during the studied time period. Mean follow-up was 5.7 years (range 0-11). Five patients were identified with nodal metastasis and one patient with distant metastasis. Overall, six patients showed evidence of malignant behavior representing 6% of patients with NIFTP.Our study demonstrates that the incidence of NIFTP is significantly lower than previously thought. Furthermore, evidence of malignant behavior was seen in a significant number of NIFTP patients. Although the authors fully support the de-escalation of aggressive treatment for low-risk thyroid cancers, NIFTP behaves as a low-risk thyroid cancer rather than a benign entity and ongoing surveillance is warranted.