Hurthle Cell Lesions

  • Douglas P. Clark
  • William C. Faquin
Part of the Essentials in Cytopathology book series (EICP, volume 8)


Thyroid tumors composed predominantly of Hurthle cells are a group of uncommon tumors recognized by the WHO as an oncocytic subset of follicular neoplasms. For this reason, Hurthle cell neoplasms can also be called “follicular neoplasms with oncocytic features.” Although the name was coined by Ewing in 1928, the Hurthle cell was originally described by Azkanazy in 1898 as a polygonal cell with abundant granular cytoplasm, the latter reflecting the abundance of mitochondria present in the cytoplasm. Hurthle cells have an enlarged round to oval nucleus with a prominent nucleolus. Other names for this cell have included Azkanazy cells, oxyphilic cells, and oncocytes. Hurthle cells are essentially nonfunctional, and Hurthle cell nodules are almost always cold nodules using radionuclide scans.


Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Parathyroid Adenoma Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Follicular Neoplasm 
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Suggested Reading

  1. Elliott DD, Pitman MB, Bloom L, Faquin WC. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of Hurthle cell lesions of the thyroid gland: A cytomorphologic study of 139 cases with statistical analysis. Cancer Cytopathol 2006;108:102–109.Google Scholar
  2. Erickson LA, Jin L, Goeliner JR, et al. Pathologic features, proliferative activity, and cyclin D1 expression in Hurthle cell neoplasms of the thyroid gland. Mod Pathol 2000;13:186.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. McDonald MP, Sanders LE, Silverman ML, Chan HS, Buyske J. Hurthle cell carcinoma of the thyroid gland: prognostic factors and results of surgical treatment. Surgery (St. Louis) 1996;120:1000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. McHenry CR, Sandoval BA. Management of follicular and Hurthle cell neoplasms of the thyroid gland. Surg Oncol Clin N Am 1998;7:893.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Renshaw AA. Hurthle cell carcinoma is a better gold standard than Hurthle cell neoplasm for fine-needle aspiration of the thyroid. Cancer Cytopathol 2002;96:261–266.Google Scholar
  6. Yang YJ, Khurana KK. Diagnostic utility of intracytoplasmic lumen and transgressing vessels in evaluation of Hurthle cell lesions by fine-needle aspiration. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2001;125:1031–1035.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyThe Johns Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology Harvard Medical SchoolMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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