Clinicopathological study of clear-cell tumors of the thyroid: An evaluation of 22 cases

Kazuo Shimizu, Mitsuji Nagahama, Yutaka Kitamura, Koei Chin, Wataru Kitagawa, Tetsuo Shibuya, Takashi Mimura, Osamu Ozaki, Kiminori Sugino, Kunihiko Ito, Shigeo Tanaka

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22 Scopus citations


Twenty-two cases of partial or wholly composed clear-cell thyroid tumors were reviewed to differentiate between a primary nodule and metastatic clear-cell renal carcinoma in the thyroid. Pathological reevaluation of HE-stained specimens, immunohistochemical observation using anti-thyroglobulin (TG) antibody, and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining were performed. The pathological characteristics in metastases from the kidney have a greater tendency to demonstrate a strikingly clear cytoplasm with small nuclei, rich vascularization, and a trabecular arrangement of tumor cells than do primary thyroid cases. The immunohistochemical TG staining in conjunction with PAS staining for the recognition of follicular colloid could provide much more reliable information of primary cases compared to that using TG staining alone. Clinically, in primary cases, the female: male ratio is substantially higher while the mean age is lower than in metastatic cases reflecting differentiated thyroid carcinoma. In conclusion, immunohistochemical staining for TG with PAS staining for the recognition of follicular colloid proved to be the most sensitive method for identifying primary clear cell thyroid tumors. In addition, a careful assessment of past and/or present kidney disorders to rule out metastatic renal cell carcinoma is advisable. Age, gender, and physiological findings are also informative when differentiating between them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1022
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery Today
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • clear-cell tumor
  • metastatic clear-cell carcinoma
  • renal cell carcinoma
  • thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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