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Hurthle Cell Carcinoma Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Serhat Aytug, MD; Chief Editor: Jules E Harris, MD, FACP, FRCPC  more...
Updated: Jun 08, 2016

Diagnostic Considerations

Hürthle cell adenoma is the principal consideration in the differential diagnosis of Hürthle cell carcinoma. Other problems to consider include the following:

  • Follicular adenoma
  • Metastatic tumors to the thyroid
  • Thyroid cysts
  • Thyrotoxicosis

Metastatic tumors to the thyroid are particularly likely to result from renal cell carcinoma, but may also originate from Hürthle cell tumors in other organs that harbor Hürthle cells, such as the following:

  • Salivary glands
  • Pharynx
  • Larynx
  • Trachea
  • Parathyroid gland
  • Esophagus
  • Pituitary
  • Liver

Differential Diagnoses

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Serhat Aytug, MD Endocrinologist, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, St Jude Heritage Medical Group

Serhat Aytug, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Endocrine Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Lawrence E Shapiro, MD Chief, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital

Lawrence E Shapiro, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Diabetes Association, American Thyroid Association, Endocrine Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Jules E Harris, MD, FACP, FRCPC Clinical Professor of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Arizona Cancer Center

Jules E Harris, MD, FACP, FRCPC is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society of Hematology, Central Society for Clinical and Translational Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Antoni Ribas, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Tumor, lymph node, metastases (TNM) staging system for papillary and follicular thyroid carcinoma.
A monomorphous cell population of Hürthle cells arranged in loosely cohesive clusters and single cells. The cells are polyhedral and have abundant granular cytoplasm with well-defined cell borders. The nuclei are enlarged and have a central prominent macronucleolus.
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