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A Novel N Staging System for Predicting Survival in Patients with Medullary Thyroid Cancer

Lili Chen MM, Kai Qian MD, Kai Guo MM, Xiaoke Zheng MM, Wenyu Sun MM, Tuanqi Sun MD, Yunjun Wang MD, Duanshu Li MM, Yi Wu MD, Qinghai Ji MD, Zhuoying Wang MD, PhD
Endocrine Tumors
Volume 26, Issue 13 / December , 2019



Despite the crucially prognostic value of lymph node metastasis (LNM) in patients with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), only the LNM compartment alone was reflected in the 8th edition of the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) system.


This study aimed to incorporate the metastatic lymph node number and metastatic lymph node ratio to generate a more accurate and appropriate N staging system for patients with MTC based on recursive partitioning analysis.

Design, Setting, and Patients

Two cohorts were included in the analysis, including 1374 MTC patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database as the derivation cohort, and 164 patients from Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center as the validation cohort. The predictive performance of the alternative proposed N staging system was compared with that of the 8th AJCC system by using the Harrell concordance index (C-index) and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).


In the derivation cohort, the C-index and the AUC at 10 years were 0.778 and 0.789, respectively, for the novel N staging system, and 0.749 and 0.741, respectively, for the 8th AJCC N staging system. Similar trends were also observed in the validation cohort. The proposed N staging system had a better prognostic performance.


With some improvements, the novel N staging system for MTC suggested from this research may be assessed for potential adoption in the next edition of the AJCC N staging system.

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