Papillary thyroid carcinoma with bilateral axillary lymph node involvement: a case report outlining hypothesis for locoregional spread and therapeutic implications
Axillary lymph node involvement (ALNI) in well differentiated papillary thyroid carcinoma (WDPTC) is a rare sequela of disease presentation. We report a case of PTC with extensive cervical lymph node involvement, local extension to the skin of the neck and bilateral ALNI without evidence of distant disease. We posit that ALNI represents local extension of disease rather than distant metastasis. Therefore, in the absence of distant spread, ALNI should result in surgical intervention. This optimizes removal of all bulky disease and increases effectiveness of radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy. Future research centered on genomics should focus on ascertaining the behavior and prognosis of such cases, especially when anatomic spread is discordant with biologic behavior.