BACKGROUND: Familial non-medullary thyroid cancer (FNMTC) mandates family screening with ultrasound; however, the need for screening paediatric thyroid cancer with no family history has not been addressed.
METHODS: This study conducted a retrospective cohort study in a tertiary hospital. The study group is composed of patients ≤18 years undergoing surgery for papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) from 2008 to 2014.
RESULTS: During the study period, 15 paediatric patients had PTC. Only one patient had a prior family history of PTC involving two second-degree relatives. Of the 30 parents, four were lost to follow-up, with the remaining 26 undergoing screening thyroid ultrasound. Nodular thyroid disease was documented in eight ultrasounds performed. Subsequently, one has not undergone fine-needle biopsy, five were benign and two underwent surgical resection: one having a benign follicular adenoma and the other a papillary microcarcinoma with nodal micrometastasis.
CONCLUSIONS: Routine ultrasound screening of parents of children presenting with PTC and no family history do not demonstrate an increased incidence of FNMTC. Screening of affected families is likely to demonstrate the expected background incidence of nodular thyroid disease and incidental papillary microcarcinoma. As such, it is unlikely to be useful.