BACKGROUND: Although the distribution of thyroid carcinoma in the Arab Gulf States has been described, no previous study has examined the characteristic clinicopathologic features of thyroid carcinoma cases in the United Arab Emirates. METHODS: The medical records of 135 patients with thyroid carcinoma diagnosed over a 15-year period (1991-2005) at Tawam Hospital, the national referral oncology center in the UAE, were retrospectively studied and the cases classified according to the histologic classification of the World Health Organization (WHO). RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients (58%) were diagnosed before the age of 45 years with an overall peak incidence in the fourth and fifth decades. The female to male ratio was 2.4:1. Eighty-four percent had papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), while follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC), anaplastic thyroid carcinoma and medullary carcinoma comprised 14%, 1.4% and 0.6%, respectively. The conventional classical variant of papillary carcinoma was the most common type. Three-quarters of the papillary carcinomas presented as multinodular goiter, while one-fifth presented as a solitary thyroid nodule. Minimal invasive follicular carcinoma was the most common variant of follicular carcinoma. CONCLUSION: Thyroid carcinoma in the United Arab Emirates seems to be more common among females and female gender may be a risk factor. Age < 45 years can be considered an important prognostic factor as well as a possible risk factor. PTC predominates the histologic pattern of thyroid carcinoma, which is usually associated with an iodide-sufficient area.
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