Metastatic ductal carcinoma of the breast to the thyroid gland diagnosed with fine needle aspiration: A case report with emphasis on morphologic and immunophenotypic features

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Abstract

Metastases to the thyroid are uncommon [<0.2% of thyroid fine needle aspirations (FNA)]. Of metastases to the thyroid, breast carcinoma is relatively common. The diagnosis of metastasis to the thyroid has important therapeutic and prognostic implications. To our knowledge, a morphologic and immunophenotypic comparison of metastatic ductal carcinoma of the breast and primary thyroid carcinomas has not been reported. Here, we report the case of a 37-year-old female with a history of metastatic ductal carcinoma of the breast (modified Bloom-Richardson grade 2; ER+, PgR+, HER2+) diagnosed 6 years prior. She developed hoarseness, prompting a CT scan. Multiple thyroid nodules were found, including a 1.5 cm hypoechoic, solid, irregularly-shaped nodule. On FNA, cells were arranged singly and in crowded groups, varied in size and degree of pleomorphism, and exhibited rare nuclear grooves, inconspicuous nucleoli, and rare intracytoplasmic lumina with no nuclear pseudoinclusions or colloid (Figs. 1A and B). These findings raised the differential of papillary thyroid carcinoma (Fig. 1C), follicular neoplasm (Fig. 1D), medullary carcinoma (Fig. 1E), parathyroid (Fig. 1F), and metastatic breast carcinoma. Immunostaining for GATA-3 (+), ER (+), PAX-8 (−), and TTF-1 (−) was consistent with metastatic breast carcinoma (Fig. 2). We conclude that metastatic breast carcinoma to the thyroid may morphologically mimic primary thyroid carcinoma on FNA; a panel of immunomarkers, such as GATA-3, hormonal marker(s), PAX-8, and TTF-1, may be useful in some cases. GATA-3 immunostaining for metastatic breast carcinoma was helpful in our case and has not been previously reported in a thyroid metastasis sampled by FNA. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2016;44:530–534. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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