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Am J Surg Pathol. 1991 May;15(5):438-48.

Sclerosing mucoepidermoid thyroid carcinoma with eosinophilia. A distinctive low-grade malignancy arising from the metaplastic follicles of Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.


Eight cases of a distinctive low-grade carcinoma of the thyroid gland occurring in a background of Hashimoto's thyroiditis are reported. The patients were women presenting with a painless thyroid mass. Grossly, the tumors were white, homogeneous, firm, and usually ill defined. Histologically, strands and small nests of squamoid tumor cells exhibiting mild to moderate nuclear pleomorphism, distinct nucleoli, and pale cytoplasm infiltrated an abundant, dense fibrohyaline stroma. Foci of definite squamous differentiation and small pools of mucin were often found within the tumor nests. The neoplastic cells were immunoreactive for cytokeratin, but not for thyroglobulin or calcitonin. The stroma and many of the tumor islands were infiltrated by eosinophils in all cases. Extrathyroidal extension occurred in five cases and lymph node metastases in one. This tumor seems to arise from the benign squamous nests sometimes associated with mucin deposition found in Hashimoto's thyroiditis and thought to be the result of metaplastic changes of the follicular epithelium. It shares several morphologic features with cases previously reported as mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid, but it differs from them in other respects. The differential diagnosis includes undifferentiated/squamous cell carcinoma, intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma, and direct extension or metastasis of carcinoma from other organs.

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