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Thyroid. 2010 Sep;20(9):1029-32. doi: 10.1089/thy.2010.0144.

Papillary thyroid carcinoma in an autonomous hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule: case report and review of the literature.

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Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes Mellitus, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA.



Whereas thyroid nodules are less common among children than among adults, the anxiety generated by the finding of a thyroid nodule is high because 20% of nodules found in children contain thyroid cancer. Discovery of a nodule in the context of hyperthyroidism is usually comforting due to the presumption that the nodule represents a benign toxic adenoma.


An 11-year-old girl presented with heavy menses, fatigue, and a right thyroid mass. Laboratory evaluation revealed elevated triiodothyronine and undetectable thyroid-stimulating hormone. Thyroid ultrasonography revealed a 3.5 cm nonhomogenous nodule, and scintigraphy was consistent with an autonomous hyper-functioning nodule. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy could not rule out malignancy, and patient underwent right hemithyroidectomy and isthmusectomy. Pathology was consistent with papillary thyroid carcinoma.


We report the discovery of papillary thyroid carcinoma in an autonomously hyperfunctioning nodule in an 11-year-old girl. Detection of an autonomously functioning thyroid nodule in children and adolescents does not exclude the possibility of thyroid carcinoma and warrants careful evaluation and appropriate therapy.

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