Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Ectopic Thyroid Tumors, Mediastinal

  • Christina M. KovacsEmail author
  • Carmen Gomez-Fernandez
Reference work entry


Intrathoracic goiter; Intrathoracic thyroid carcinoma; Substernal goiter; Substernal thyroid carcinoma


Tumors of thyroid origin that arise within, extend into, or metastasize to involve the mediastinum.

Clinical Features

  • Incidence

    Approximately 20% of goiters extend into the thorax, representing roughly 10% of mediastinal masses. Rarely, foci of malignancy can arise within mediastinal goiter. Advanced-stage thyroid malignancies can involve the mediastinum and surrounding structures. Metastatic carcinoma of thyroid origin in mediastinal lymph nodes may present as a mass lesion.

  • Age

    Goiter is most common in women of reproductive age. Thyroid malignancy occurs primarily in young and middle-aged adults. The mean age at diagnosis of papillary thyroid carcinoma is mid-40s–50s, 50s for follicular carcinoma and medullary thyroid carcinoma (unless syndrome associated), and 60s for anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

  • Sex

    Thyroid goiter is more common in women. Thyroid neoplasms are...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Daraki, V., Koukouraki, S., Velegrakis, G., Mamalaki, E., Haniotis, V. T., Kalikakis, G., Stathaki, M. I., Karkavitsas, N., & Papavasiliou, S. S. (2012). Rare presentation of occult medullary carcinoma of the thyroid as a mediastinal mass. Hormones (Athens, Greece), 11(2), 210–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. De Las Casas, L. E., Williams, H. J., Strausbauch, P. H., & Silverman, J. F. (2000). Hurthle cell adenoma of the mediastinum: Intraoperative cytology and differential diagnosis with correlative gross, histology, and ancillary studies. Diagnostic Cytopathology, 22(1), 16–20.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Falco, C. E., Grande, A. M., Nicolardi, S., Viganò, M., & Benazzo, M. (2010). Management of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma spread over the trachea with mediastinal extension. Giornale di Chirurgia, 31(8–9), 390–393.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Nar Demirer, A., Ayturk, S., Tutuncu, N. B., Gursoy, A., Pak, Y., & Demirag, N. G. (2009). Unresectable huge sternal and mediastinal metastasis of follicular thyroid carcinoma; radiotherapy as first-line and palliative therapy. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes, 117(4), 155–158.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Shah, B. C., Ravichand, C. S., Juluri, S., Agarwal, A., Pramesh, C. S., & Mistry, R. C. (2007). Ectopic thyroid cancer. Annals of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 13(2), 122–124.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Strollo, D. C., Rosado de Christenson, M. L., & Jett, J. R. (1997). Primary mediastinal tumors. Part 1: Tumors of the anterior mediastinum. Chest, 112(2), 511–522.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MiamiMiamiUSA