Updated: 7/1/2019

Thyroid Cancer

Review Topic
  • A 36-year-old woman complains of severe episodes of headache, tremulousness, palpitations, and anxiety. The patient has noted a change in her voice and she has difficulty swallowing solids. On physical exam, there is a palpable, nontender swelling in the front of her neck that moves with swallowing. There is no cervical lymphadenopathy. Lab studies show hypercalcemia. A radiograph of the cervical region shows irregular calcifications in mass, while an MRI of the abdomen shows confirms the presence of bilateral adrenal lesions. 
Follicular Adenoma
  • Introduction
    • most common benign thyroid neoplasm
  • Evaluation
    • radioactive iodine imaging 
      • cold nodule
    • histology
      • complete capsular confinement
  • Prognosis
    • small minority progress to follicular carcinoma
Papillary Adenocarcinoma
  • Introduction
    • 90% of all thyroid cancers 
    • female dominance
    • often multifocal
    • risk factors include radiation exposure to the head and neck
      • also associated with BRAF and RET oncogenes
  • Evaluation
    • histology
      • psammoma bodies (calcifications)  
        • also seen in ovarian papillary serous cystadenocarcinoma and meningiomas
      • ground glass/empty nuclei  
        • nuclear grooves
        • known as "Orphan Annie" eyes
      • cells organized into papillary "fingers"
  • Treatment
    • thyroidectomy + iodine radiotherapy
  • Prognosis
    • metastasis via lymphatics
    • very good prognosis
Follicular Carcinoma
  • Introduction
    • usually unifocal
      • cold nodule
  • Evaluation
    • histology
      • preservation of normal thyroid follicular architecture but proliferation
        • uniform follicles
      • may invade capsule or blood vessels
  • Prognosis
    • hematogenous metastasis
      • lungs most common
    • good prognosis
Medullary Carcinoma
  • Introduction
    • derived from calcitonin synthesizing C cells
      • presentation may be hypocalcemia
      • may also produce ACTH
    • 10% of the cases are familiar and associated with MEN IIa or IIb
      • associated with a ret mutation
    • 90% are sporadic.
    • risk factors for malignancy are previous irradiation of the neck, cold nodules, and family history.
  • Evaluation
    • serum calcitonin
      • tumor marker
    • histology
      • amyloid (consisting of calcitonin) 
    • pentagastrin infusion
      • hyperplasia present with high calcitonin level response following administration
B-Cell Malignant Lymphoma
  • Introduction
    • sequelae of Hashimoto's thyroiditis
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
  • Introduction
    • seen most commonly in the elderly
    • may be superimposed on multinodular goiter, follicular cancer
  • Prognosis
    • very poor prognosis

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Questions (5)
Lab Values
Blood, Plasma, Serum Reference Range
ALT 8-20 U/L
Amylase, serum 25-125 U/L
AST 8-20 U/L
Bilirubin, serum (adult) Total // Direct 0.1-1.0 mg/dL // 0.0-0.3 mg/dL
Calcium, serum (Ca2+) 8.4-10.2 mg/dL
Cholesterol, serum Rec: < 200 mg/dL
Cortisol, serum 0800 h: 5-23 μg/dL //1600 h:
3-15 μg/dL
2000 h: ≤ 50% of 0800 h
Creatine kinase, serum Male: 25-90 U/L
Female: 10-70 U/L
Creatinine, serum 0.6-1.2 mg/dL
Electrolytes, serum  
Sodium (Na+) 136-145 mEq/L
Chloride (Cl-) 95-105 mEq/L
Potassium (K+) 3.5-5.0 mEq/L
Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 22-28 mEq/L
Magnesium (Mg2+) 1.5-2.0 mEq/L
Estriol, total, serum (in pregnancy)  
24-28 wks // 32-36 wks 30-170 ng/mL // 60-280 ng/mL
28-32 wk // 36-40 wks 40-220 ng/mL // 80-350 ng/mL
Ferritin, serum Male: 15-200 ng/mL
Female: 12-150 ng/mL
Follicle-stimulating hormone, serum/plasma Male: 4-25 mIU/mL
Female: premenopause: 4-30 mIU/mL
midcycle peak: 10-90 mIU/mL
postmenopause: 40-250
pH 7.35-7.45
PCO2 33-45 mmHg
PO2 75-105 mmHg
Glucose, serum Fasting: 70-110 mg/dL
2-h postprandial:<120 mg/dL
Growth hormone - arginine stimulation Fasting: <5 ng/mL
Provocative stimuli: > 7ng/mL
Immunoglobulins, serum  
IgA 76-390 mg/dL
IgE 0-380 IU/mL
IgG 650-1500 mg/dL
IgM 40-345 mg/dL
Iron 50-170 μg/dL
Lactate dehydrogenase, serum 45-90 U/L
Luteinizing hormone, serum/plasma Male: 6-23 mIU/mL
Female: follicular phase: 5-30 mIU/mL
midcycle: 75-150 mIU/mL
postmenopause 30-200 mIU/mL
Osmolality, serum 275-295 mOsmol/kd H2O
Parathyroid hormone, serume, N-terminal 230-630 pg/mL
Phosphatase (alkaline), serum (p-NPP at 30° C) 20-70 U/L
Phosphorus (inorganic), serum 3.0-4.5 mg/dL
Prolactin, serum (hPRL) < 20 ng/mL
Proteins, serum  
Total (recumbent) 6.0-7.8 g/dL
Albumin 3.5-5.5 g/dL
Globulin 2.3-3.5 g/dL
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, serum or plasma .5-5.0 μU/mL
Thyroidal iodine (123I) uptake 8%-30% of administered dose/24h
Thyroxine (T4), serum 5-12 μg/dL
Triglycerides, serum 35-160 mg/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3), serum (RIA) 115-190 ng/dL
Triiodothyronine (T3) resin uptake 25%-35%
Urea nitrogen, serum 7-18 mg/dL
Uric acid, serum 3.0-8.2 mg/dL
Hematologic Reference Range
Bleeding time 2-7 minutes
Erythrocyte count Male: 4.3-5.9 million/mm3
Female: 3.5-5.5 million mm3
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Westergren) Male: 0-15 mm/h
Female: 0-20 mm/h
Hematocrit Male: 41%-53%
Female: 36%-46%
Hemoglobin A1c ≤ 6 %
Hemoglobin, blood Male: 13.5-17.5 g/dL
Female: 12.0-16.0 g/dL
Hemoglobin, plasma 1-4 mg/dL
Leukocyte count and differential  
Leukocyte count 4,500-11,000/mm3
Segmented neutrophils 54%-62%
Bands 3%-5%
Eosinophils 1%-3%
Basophils 0%-0.75%
Lymphocytes 25%-33%
Monocytes 3%-7%
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin 25.4-34.6 pg/cell
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration 31%-36% Hb/cell
Mean corpuscular volume 80-100 μm3
Partial thromboplastin time (activated) 25-40 seconds
Platelet count 150,000-400,000/mm3
Prothrombin time 11-15 seconds
Reticulocyte count 0.5%-1.5% of red cells
Thrombin time < 2 seconds deviation from control
Plasma Male: 25-43 mL/kg
Female: 28-45 mL/kg
Red cell Male: 20-36 mL/kg
Female: 19-31 mL/kg
Cerebrospinal Fluid Reference Range
Cell count 0-5/mm3
Chloride 118-132 mEq/L
Gamma globulin 3%-12% total proteins
Glucose 40-70 mg/dL
Pressure 70-180 mm H2O
Proteins, total < 40 mg/dL
Sweat Reference Range
Chloride 0-35 mmol/L
Calcium 100-300 mg/24 h
Chloride Varies with intake
Creatinine clearance Male: 97-137 mL/min
Female: 88-128 mL/min
Estriol, total (in pregnancy)  
30 wks 6-18 mg/24 h
35 wks 9-28 mg/24 h
40 wks 13-42 mg/24 h
17-Hydroxycorticosteroids Male: 3.0-10.0 mg/24 h
Female: 2.0-8.0 mg/24 h
17-Ketosteroids, total Male: 8-20 mg/24 h
Female: 6-15 mg/24 h
Osmolality 50-1400 mOsmol/kg H2O
Oxalate 8-40 μg/mL
Potassium Varies with diet
Proteins, total < 150 mg/24 h
Sodium Varies with diet
Uric acid Varies with diet
Body Mass Index (BMI) Adult: 19-25 kg/m2

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(M1.ON.4754) A 43-year-old female presents to her primary care physician complaining of a gradually enlarging neck mass. She reports that she first developed a firm nodular midline mass on the anterior aspect of her neck two months ago. She is otherwise healthy and takes no medications. A fine-needle aspiration is performed and a histological sample of the specimen is shown. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis? Review Topic

QID: 108711
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Medullary thyroid carcinoma




Follicular thyroid carcinoma




Papillary thyroid carcinoma




B-cell lymphoma




Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma




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(M1.ON.27) A 27-year-old female presents to her physician with a palpable thyroid nodule. Iodine uptake testing shows that the nodule has decreased iodine uptake compared with the rest of the thyroid gland. A fine-needle aspiration is performed and the physician calls telling the patient that she has a neoplasm of the thyroid. Which of the following diagnoses is the most likely? Review Topic

QID: 104667
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Papillary carcinoma




Medullary carcinoma




Follicular carcinoma




Anaplastic carcinoma




Hurthle cell carcinoma




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