Brain metastases from papillary thyroid carcinomas

Farnaz C. Tahmasebi, Peter Farmer, Suzanne Z. Powell, Kenneth D. Aldape, Gregory N. Fuller, Shital Patel, Peter Hollis, David Chalif, Mark B. Eisenberg, Jian Yi Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Brain metastasis from papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is extremely rare and carries a poor prognosis. We report nine cases (five females and four males) of brain metastasis of PTC. The age of patients ranged from 46 to 87 years old. The patients presented with nonspecific symptoms such as headaches. Brain metastasis was the first clinical presentation in three of nine patients; two of which had the aggressive tall cell variant of PTC. Six patients had prior history of PTC (four classic, one oncocytic variant, and one columnar cell variant) for 2 to 17 years with a median of 12 years. Gross total resection of brain metastasis was achieved for eight of our patients. Eight patients were treated with radioactive iodine. The median follow-up time was 12 months, ranging from 1 month to 4 years. Three patients died of their disease in 6 months, 21 months and 4 years, respectively after their first presentation of brain metastasis. It seems that these rare aggressive variants of PTC, such as tall cell variant, not only have higher propensity to develop brain metastasis, but also more frequently present with brain metastasis as their first clinical presentation than classic PTC. Furthermore, patients with PTC can develop brain metastasis even after many years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-480
Number of pages8
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Brain metastasis
  • Columnar cell variant
  • Oncocytic variant
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)
  • Tall cell variant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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