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Breast cancer metastasis to thyroid: a retrospective analysis

Lingyan Zhou
Liyu Chen
Dong Xu
Qi Shao
Zhenying Guo
Minghua Ge


Background: Breast cancers metastasizing to thyroid gland are relatively uncommon in clinical practice.
Objective: Retrospective analysis of data from breast cancer patients with thyroid metastasis (TM).
Methods: The US suspected, fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) confirmed TM in breast cancer patients, treated between 2005 and 2015 at our hospital, was retrospectively analyzed. The data were re-evaluated by the pathologist and radiologist who were blinded to the patients’ data.
Results: FNAC and immunohistochemistry confirmed the ultrasonography (US) suspected TM in eight breast cancer patients. Clinically both unilateral and bilateral TM was seen, which were symptomless and metachronously (6-121 months) metastasized. Six of eight cases exhibited recurrence/distant metastasis and were treated with chemotherapy/ thyroidectomy of which two cases passed away. The remaining two patients had no recurrences/distant metastases and were treated with partial/total thyroidectomy. Post-chemotherapy US showed more homogenous thyroid parenchyma with gathering of calcification that reduced in size, revealing the sensitiveness of TM to chemotherapy.
Conclusion: US was useful in screening TM in breast cancer patients. Both partial and total thyroidectomy was effective in disease free survival of isolated TM cases, with controlled primary condition. TM responded well to chemotherapy in most of the recurrent breast cancer cases with or without distant metastasis.

Keywords: Thyroid, ultrasonography, breast cancer, metastasis.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905