Metastases to the thyroid gland: Seventeen cases operated on in single clinical center

Jagiellonian University, Cracovia, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, Poland
Langenbeck s Archives of Surgery (Impact Factor: 2.19). 12/2006; 391(6):581-7. DOI: 10.1007/s00423-006-0081-1
Source: PubMed


In spite of its rich vasculature, the thyroid gland is rarely the site of metastatic disease. The incidence of such metastases differs depending on the type of the analyzed material. In clinical papers, the incidence is low and, according to various sources, amounts to 2-3% of all malignant tumors of the thyroid. Most commonly, the primary tumor is located in the breast, bronchi, gastrointestinal system, (the colon, esophagus, or stomach) and kidneys. Usually, metastatic thyroid disease is identified upon autopsy, and only sporadic cases are encountered in clinical material. The authors present their experience in treating metastatic disease involving the thyroid gland based on the analysis of their clinical material consisting of patients operated on in a single center.
Seventeen patients presented with metastatic tumors of the thyroid. The material was further analyzed retrospectively. The group included four men and 13 women, with the male to female ratio of 1:4.25. The age of the patients ranged from 46 to 76 years, with the mean age amounting to 62+/-9.78 years. Eleven patients were diagnosed based on fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB).
In 13 patients, the primary lesion was a clear cell carcinoma of the kidney, in one breast cancer, in another one uterine carcinoma. In two patients, no primary focus location was established. All the patients were treated surgically. Twelve patients were consistently followed up after the surgery. Of this group, seven are still alive, including five individuals with metastases of renal carcinomas, but without recurrent disease. Five patients died due to disseminated neoplastic disease. No data are available on three patients. The mean follow-up time after thyroid surgery was 3.9 years. The longest followed-up survival time was 11 years.
The most commonly clinically detected and treated surgically metastatic lesion of the thyroid gland is clear cell cancer of the kidney. In cases of renal cancer metastases to the thyroid gland, a total thyroidectomy seems to be warranted, although it does not affect the survival time.

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    • "The thyroid gland has an abundant arterial supply. Despite this, metastases to the thyroid gland have been reported in only 1.4%-3% of all patients who have surgery for thyroid malignancy (1, 2, 3). This low incidence is possibly due to a fast arterial flow through the thyroid; and high oxygen and iodine content of the thyroid gland may inhibit the settling and growth of metastatic cells (4). "
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    ABSTRACT: Cases of metastases to the thyroid gland seem to be increasing in recent years. The clinical and ultrasonographic findings of diffuse metastases have been sparsely reported. Thirteen cases of diffuse metastases to the thyroid gland were documented by thyroid ultrasonography-guided fine needle aspiration cytology between 2004 and 2013. We retrospectively reviewed the patients with diffuse thyroid metastases. The most common primary site was the lung (n=9), followed by unknown origin cancers (n=2), cholangiocarcinoma (n=1), and penile cancer (n=1). Eleven patients were incidentally found to have thyroid metastases via surveillance or staging FDG-PET. Other 2 patients were diagnosed during work-up for hypothyroidism and palpable cervical lymph nodes. On ultrasonography, the echogenicity of the enlarged thyroid gland was heterogeneously hypoechoic or isoechoic, and reticular pattern internal hypoechoic lines were observed without increased vascularity found by power Doppler ultrasonography (3 right lobe, 2 left lobe, and 8 both lobes). In the 8 patients who had involvement of both lobes, 3 had hypothyroidism. In conclusion, ultrasonographic finding of diffuse metastasis is a diffusely enlarged heterogeneous thyroid with reticular pattern internal hypoechoic lines. Thyroid function testing should be performed in all patients with diffuse thyroid metastases, especially those with bilateral lobe involvement. Graphical Abstract
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Korean Medical Science
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    • "Generally, despite being second only to the adrenal glands as the most vascular perfused organ in the body [17], the thyroid is rarely considered to be the sole site of metastases in the clinical setting and is usually asymptomatic [8,18]. Cichon et al. reported that metastasis to the thyroid only accounts for 2% to 3% of all thyroid carcinomas identified in the clinical setting [19]. The most common primary sites are the kidney, breast, and lung (see related references [3-6]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Metastasis to the thyroid is extremely rare. There is a lack of awareness of and adequate preparation for this situation, especially in an individual without a past history of malignancy. We describe a rare case of a 61-year-old man in whom a primary distal esophageal carcinoma gave rise to a metastatic palpable mass in the thyroid gland. Palliative bilateral near-total thyroidectomy was performed with pathology showing squamous cell carcinoma and tracheostomy was carried out simultaneously due to airway compression with related symptoms. A review of the literature only reveals 4 similar cases. Secondary neoplasm of the thyroid mimicking a primary malignant lesion is seldom encountered, however, in order to make appropriate treatment, the most critical problem is to distinguish the difference between the above two and the final diagnosis can only be confirmed on pathologic examination. Although the prognosis of thyroid metastasis is commonly felt to be poor, improvement of living quality and prolongation of survival may be obtained in such patients through correct diagnosis and treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · World Journal of Surgical Oncology
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    • "As the above mentioned primary malignant tumours occur mostly in elderly population9, also the metastatic malignancy to the thyroid gland is observed in the elderly individuals. They are in their sixth and seventh decades of life and the mean age of our patients were also approximately 60 years similar to that described in the literature.10,11 "
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    ABSTRACT: Metastases to the thyroid are encountered rarely in clinical practice, but the number of cases seems to have increased in recent years. The reason of this increase may be a more frequent use of fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) and the use of more sophisticated, complicated imaging techniques in patients with thyroid masses. Also, in addition to these reasons, the use of more organo-specific immunohistochemical antibodies in the examination of surgical specimens may affect the differential diagnosis of malignant tumours. Three metastatic tumours to thyroid were found in the retrospective review of malignant thyroid tumours diagnosed between January 1993 and December 2007. The primary tumours were clear cell carcinoma of the kidney, squamous cell carcinoma of the lung and breast carcinoma-ductal type. A detailed clinical history, careful histological examination and essential immunohistochemistry helped in attaining the correct diagnosis.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Radiology and Oncology
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