World Journal of Endocrine Surgery

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VOLUME 8 , ISSUE 3 ( September-December, 2016 ) > List of Articles


Ultrasound-guided Ethanol Ablation: Where does It fit in the Treatment of Recurrent Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer?

Natalie Seiser, Jesse D Pasternak, Wouter Kluijfhout, Jessica E Gosnell, Wen T Shen

Citation Information : Seiser N, Pasternak JD, Kluijfhout W, Gosnell JE, Shen WT. Ultrasound-guided Ethanol Ablation: Where does It fit in the Treatment of Recurrent Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer?. World J Endoc Surg 2016; 8 (3):199-202.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10002-1191

Published Online: 01-08-2009

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2016; The Author(s).



Ethanol (ETOH) ablation of metastatic neck nodes has been described as a potentially safe and effective alternative to surgical excision. We sought to describe a subset of these patients well suited for ETOH ablation.

Materials and methods

We report ultrasound-guided ETOH ablation of metastatic papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) at a Tertiary Care Endocrine Surgery Unit over 5 years. A retrospective review of all reoperative lymph node dissections was undertaken. Ethanol injection was used as second-line treatment to operative excision and was standardized with ultrasound guidance and the use of 1 cc/cm3 of 100% ETOH solution.


Five treatments of ultrasound-guided ETOH ablation were studied. All patients had been previously treated with radioactive iodine (RAI) (mean: 1.25 treatments of 174mCi), however, in three cases with pretreatment I-131 scan, no uptake of radioiodine was seen in the treated disease. In four cases with pretreatment fludeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET), treated lesions were avid. Median follow-up time for treatment was 28.5 months, with no disease progression in all ablated lesions. Serum thyroglobulin (Tg) values in patients without Tg-antibody were lower after treatment. There were no complications.


Surgeons seeking a less-invasive approach for nodal metastases in the neck can consider ETOH ablation. Small ultrasound detectable lesions in scarred necks (irradiated and/or reoperative) which are radioiodine non-avid and FDG-PET avid may be best suited for this treatment. As demonstrated by a small set of patients in a Tertiary Care Endocrine Surgery Unit, ETOH ablation is safe and effective at controlling progression of targeted local disease.

How to cite this article

Pasternak JD, Kluijfhout W, Seiser N, Gosnell JE, Suh I, Duh Q-Y, Shen WT. Ultrasound-guided Ethanol Ablation: Where does It fit in the Treatment of Recurrent Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer? World J Endoc Surg 2016;8(3):199-202.

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