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Tumori. 2000 May-Jun;86(3):238-49.

Papillary thyroid carcinoma and related thyroid neoplastic lesions: a light microscopic study with emphasis on nuclear changes.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ontario, Canada. ktmai@civich.ottawa.on.ca

Abstract

A total of 187 thyroid lesions consisting of 2 cases of Grave's disease, 21 cases of multinodular goiter, 40 follicular adenomas and 124 low-grade papillary thyroid carcinomas were studied to identify intermediate neoplastic lesions in the spectrum of nuclear changes between benign reactive thyroid follicles and low-grade thyroid papillary carcinoma. The lesions were examined and classified on the basis of the following nuclear features: fine chromatin seen in the thyroid papillary carcinomas and coarse chromatin seen in follicular carcinomas. Cases with Hürthle cell changes were excluded from the study. Cases with nuclei containing coarse chromatin were classified in the group of follicular adenomas with a coarse chromatin pattern. The neoplastic thyroid lesions containing fine chromatin showed a spectrum of nuclear changes ranging between reactive follicular lesions and papillary thyroid carcinoma with lymph node metastasis. Such lesions were classified as follicular adenomas with a fine chromatin pattern. The nuclei of these lesions were graded into mild to marked "nuclear atypia with a fine chromatin pattern". The degree of atypia depended on the degree and extent of nuclear changes. Encapsulated follicular adenomas with a fine chromatin pattern and with mild atypia (11 cases), moderate atypia (13 cases), marked atypia (27 cases), and encapsulated or nonencapsulated papillary thyroid carcinoma were characterized by uniform nuclei; with mild, moderate and marked nuclear atypia in less than 2/3 of the cell population and marked nuclear atypia in more than 2/3 of the cell population; and measuring 5.4-6.3, 6.0-7.2, 6.3-9 and 7.2-10 microns in diameter, respectively. Follow-up of cases of papillary thyroid carcinoma fulfilling the above criteria showed lymph node metastasis in 33% of cases, whereas follicular adenomas with a fine chromatin pattern, including cases originally diagnosed as papillary carcinoma, showed no evidence of lymph node or distant metastasis in a follow-up period of 30 months to 15 years. In the thyroid tissue surrounding papillary thyroid carcinoma or encapsulated follicular adenoma with a fine chromatin pattern and marked atypia, adenomatous nodules with a fine chromatin pattern and with low-grade nuclear atypia were identified. The adenomatous nodules with a fine chromatin pattern and with mild, moderate and marked atypia showed architectural, cytoplasmic and nuclear features similar to those of follicular adenoma with a fine chromatin pattern of the same grade. Of interest, a large number of cases of follicular adenoma with a fine chromatin pattern had areas with features of follicular adenoma with a coarse chromatin pattern.

PMID:
10939606
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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