Preoperative scintigraphic visualization of metastases from well-differentiated thyroid microcarcinoma in patients with Graves disease is extremely rare, as is the scintigraphic visualization of poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma as a warm nodule. We present a patient with Graves disease and both of these rare entities.
A 47-year-old woman complained of a growing left-side neck mass and symptoms of thyrotoxicosis. On clinical examination, the thyroid was palpable without discernible nodularity, while the left side of the neck was occupied by 3 gross, painless nodules. She also had signs of thyrotoxicosis and biochemical parameters of Graves hyperthyroidism. Ultrasound examination showed moderately hypoechogenic thyroid with a small hypoechogenic nodule in the upper pole of the left lobe and 3 gross, almost normoechogenic nodules on the left side of the neck. On Tc-99m-pertechnetate pinhole scintigraphy there was a small, warm nodule in the upper pole of the left lobe and 3 gross metastatic nodules on the left side of the neck. Fine needle aspiration of the neck nodules was consistent with metastases from thyroid papillary carcinoma. After thyrostatic preparation a total thyroidectomy with left modified radical neck dissection was done.
Histopathologic examination disclosed 2 carcinomas in the left thyroid lobe. One of them was a tall cell variant of papillary carcinoma in the upper pole of the left lobe that measured 5 mm and corresponded to the small warm nodule, and the second one was a classic form of papillary microcarcinoma that measured 2 mm. Metastases accrued from the classic form of papillary microcarcinoma. Although the patient had 2 thyroid carcinomas, one with metastases and the other of more aggressive form, which is consistent with advanced stage and aggressiveness, she is now disease-free, 4 years after the operation and radioiodine ablation.
From the *Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Split, University of Split Medical Faculty, Split, Croatia; †Clinical Department for Pathology, University Hospital Split, University of Split Medical Faculty, Split, Croatia; and ‡School of Dental Dentistry, Department of Oral Surgery, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
Received for publication January 31, 2010; revision accepted March 21, 2010.
Reprints: Vinko Marković, MD, PhD, Department of Nuclear Medicine, University Hospital Split, Spinčićeva 1, 21 000 Split, Croatia. E-mail: email@example.com.