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Thyroid. 2001 Sep;11(9):883-8.

Severe thyrotoxicosis induced by thyroid metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma: a case report and review of the literature.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Clinical Endocrinology, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Japan.


A 50-year-old woman who had undergone lung lobectomy because of lung adenocarcinoma presented with thyrotoxicosis, neck swelling, and cervical lymphadenopathy one month after the operation. The total serum triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels were markedly elevated to 514 ng/dL and 26.4 microg/dL, respectively, and serum thyrotropin (TSH) was suppressed to less than 0.005 microU/mL. Although the thyroid gland had been normal before surgery, chest computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a markedly enlarged thyroid gland only 1 month after surgery. 123I uptake for 24 hours was suppressed to 4% in the thyroid gland with no uptake elsewhere including the lung. Fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) of the thyroid showed invasion of poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma cells, cytologically identical to the cells obtained from sputum and those infiltrating the resected sections of the lung adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemical studies of resected lung tissues did not show positive staining for thyroglobulin, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), or surfactant protein A. Clinically, the thyrotoxicosis had spontaneously improved, followed by a hypothyroid state with shrinkage of the thyroid gland after chemotherapy. Despite repeated chemotherapy and the administration of thyroxine for hypothyroidism, the patient died of respiratory failure 9 months after the onset of thyrotoxicosis. From these findings and the clinical course, thyroid metastasis, developing subacutely from lung adenocarcinoma, was diagnosed. We speculate that aggressive invasion of tumor cells into the thyroid gland resulted in highly destructive thyrotoxicosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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