Can Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Arise in Thyroglossal Duct Cysts? A Search for Parafollicular C-cells in 41 Resected Cases
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Thyroglossal duct cysts (TGDCs) are present in ~7% of adults and develop from the midline migratory tract between the foramen cecum and anatomic location of the thyroid. Thyroid tissue can be identified in 2/3 of TGDCs, and up to 1% develop associated malignancy, 90% of which are papillary thyroid carcinoma. Cases of follicular and anaplastic carcinoma have been documented, but there are no reports of medullary thyroid carcinoma arising in a TGDC. This is presumably due to the distinct embryologic origin of parafollicular C-cells, from which medullary carcinoma arises. The goal of this study is to determine whether parafollicular C-cells are present in TGDCs. H&E sections from 41 TGDC cases were examined for thyroid tissue, thyroglossal duct remnants, ultimobranchial remnants, and parafollicular C-cells. Immunohistochemistry was performed for TTF-1 and calcitonin. Eighty three percent (34/41) of cases contained thyroid tissue on H&E and by TTF-1. No cases (0/41) had ultimobranchial remnants or parafollicular C-cells on H&E or with calcitonin. One case of papillary carcinoma in a TGDC was identified. These cases illustrate that although TGDCs often contain thyroid tissue, parafollicular C-cells are absent. Therefore, unlike other thyroid neoplasms, there is no evidence to support the possibility of medullary carcinoma arising in a TGDC.
KeywordsMedullary Thyroid Carcinoma Thyroglossal Parafollicular C-cells
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Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest to report.
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