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Arch Anat Cytol Pathol. 1992;40(4):176-82.

[Primary and secondary carcinomas of the thyroid gland with systematic discovery. Apropos of hundred thyroid glands removed at autopsies and review of the literature].

[Article in French]

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Laboratoire d'Anatomie Pathologique, Centre RĂ©gional de Lutte contre le Cancer Paul Strauss, Strasbourg.


One hundred thyroids from autopsies performed in a Cancer Center were sectioned at 4 mm intervals. Each slice was processed to obtain one or several sections for histologic examination. Five primary microcarcinomas and ten secondary clinically unknown carcinomas were found. This study and the review of the literature confirm that the high prevalence rate of microcarcinomas, most of them papillary, in autopsies does not agree with the clinically diagnosed carcinoma rate. Tumors greater than 5 mm in diameter may sometimes be aggressive. Intrathyroid metastases are relatively frequent in cancerous dissemination observed in autopsies, but raise problems when they precede the primary tumor or are revealed on surgical samples a long time after because of a slow development. The authors emphasize the importance of differential diagnosis between primary and secondary tumors and the value of immunohistochemistry for histological diagnosis.

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