Article

Papillary thyroid carcinoma tall cell variant

Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.
Thyroid: official journal of the American Thyroid Association (Impact Factor: 3.84). 10/2008; 18(11):1179-81. DOI: 10.1089/thy.2008.0164
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The most common of the aggressive variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the tall cell variant (TCV). Because there are serious prognostic and management implications to a diagnosis of TCV, we review the entity to inform clinicians about the many facets of TCV. SUMMARY: The TCV of PTC is characterized by cells having the nuclear features of PTC and whose height is at least twice or thrice their width. There is disagreement regarding the proportion of tall cells and the cell height required to diagnose TCV. In view of its blurred definition and rarity, studies have shown that TCV is still underdiagnosed. We propose that PTC be diagnosed as TCV if it is composed of > or =50% tall cells. The latter should have a height that is at least twice their width, an eosinophilic cytoplasm, and the nuclear features of PTC. Whatever its definition, there is a consensus that TCV has a higher recurrence and death rate than classical PTC. Most authorities believe that TCV's worse prognosis is related to its older age at presentation, larger tumor size, and high frequency of extrathyroid extension (ETE). However, in a recent article, TCV without ETE was shown to have a more aggressive behavior than classical PTC without ETE independent of age, gender, and tumor size. The aggressive behavior of TCV could be related to the high expression of Muc1 and matrix metalloproteinase and to the higher prevalence of B-RAF mutations when compared to classical PTC. The importance of TCV is accentuated by the fact that it is overrepresented in those fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomogram (FDG-PET)-positive thyroid carcinomas that are refractory to radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy constituting 20% of these incurable tumors. Conclusion: TCV is a biologically and clinically aggressive form of PTC that is still underdiagnosed. TCV is overrepresented in patients with RAI refractory disease. It has a high prevalence of B-RAF mutations making the latter an attractive target in RAI refractory cases. Imaging modalities that can detect RAI refractory disease such as FDG-PET scanning are needed in many patients and a requirement in those with extensive ETE. More studies are needed to identify those TCV that become RAI refractory and develop effective target therapies against these incurable carcinomas.

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    • "Limited experience exists about the role of FDG-PET or PET/CT in patients with more aggressive histological subtypes of DTC, including case reports or small case series in patients with tall cell [32], diffuse sclerosing [33] [34] [35], solid/trabecular [36] and insular variant [37] of DTC. These articles underlines that FDG-PET or PET/CT seem to be very useful tools for the staging and restaging of such tumours. "
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    ABSTRACT: Rare breast neoplasms resembling the tall-cell variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma have been reported. In addition, papillary carcinoma of the breast occasionally displays nuclear features reminiscent of papillary thyroid carcinoma. In this study, we evaluated 33 intraductal/intracystic papillary carcinomas of the breast for the presence and extent of nuclear overlap, grooves, clearing, and inclusions, as well as features of the tall-cell or columnar-cell variants of papillary thyroid carcinoma. RET rearrangements were assessed in a subset of these cases. Paired probes localizing to the centromeric and telomeric ends of the RET gene on chromosome 10 were used for FISH using a break-apart approach. Single round and nested PCR was performed to detect RET/PTC1, RET/PTC2, RET/PTC3 and ELKS-RET fusion transcripts. Nuclear overlap, grooves, stratification, and clearing were identified in 24 (73%), 14 (42%), 11 (33%), and 9 (27%) cases respectively, whereas nuclear inclusions and 'tall-cell' features were each seen in only one (3%) and two (6%) cases, respectively. Four of 19 tested cases displayed split FISH signals in a low percentage of cells and were considered borderline for RET rearrangement. All 19 tested cases with amplifiable RNA were negative for the four RET fusion transcripts evaluated by RT-PCR. Although papillary carcinomas of breast often display one or more cytoarchitectural features of papillary thyroid carcinoma, there is no evidence that RET rearrangements are involved.
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