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Open access

Simone Pederzoli, Giorgia Spaggiari, Giuditta Bernardelli, Francesco Mattioli, Cinzia Baldessari, Antonino Maiorana, Vincenzo Rochira, and Daniele Santi

Summary

We present the case of a 69-year-old woman who attended the Endocrinology Unit of Modena for a suspicious lymph node in the left cervical compartment discovered during the follow-up of a recurrent gynecological malignancy. At neck ultrasonography, a thyroid goiter was detected, and the further cytological examination was inconclusive for thyroid nodule and compatible with a localization of an adenocarcinoma with papillary architecture for the lymph node. The histological examination after a left neck dissection confirmed the presence of an intracapsular metastasis of a papillary carcinoma immunohistochemically focally positive for thyroid transcription factor 1 and paired box 8 and negative for thyroglobulin. Subsequently, in the suspicion of a thyroid primitiveness, a total thyroidectomy was performed, revealing an intraparenchymal follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma of 2 mm in the right lobe. During the follow-up, the appearance of a suspected cervical metastatic lesion led to another neck dissection, histologically compatible with a papillary carcinoma localization, immunohistochemically focally positive for thyroid transcription factor 1 and paired box 8, and negative for thyroglobulin. The histological revision of surgical specimens suggests the cervical recurrence of the prior gynecological cancer, rather than a thyroid carcinoma metastasis. The case described shows how carefully the cytological, histological and immunoistochemical results must be evaluated in oncological management, considering the whole patient’s history.

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Open access

Aye Chan Maung, May Anne Cheong, Ying Ying Chua, and Daphne Su-Lyn Gardner

Summary

Thyroid storm is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of excessive thyroid hormone action. It is associated with a hypercoagulable state and reported to increase the risk of thromboembolism. However, the role of anticoagulation in thyroid storm still remains controversial and inconclusive. A 22-year-old male with no significant past medical history presented with acute severe generalised abdominal pain. He was found to be profoundly thyrotoxic on arrival at our institution and subsequently diagnosed with thyroid storm secondary to newly diagnosed Graves’ disease. Extensive thromboses of the splanchnic, iliac, femoral veins and pulmonary arteries were subsequently demonstrated on CT scan. He had prolonged bowel ileus as a sequela of mesenteric ischaemia requiring total parenteral nutrition and non-oral forms of anti-thyroid drugs for management of hyperthyroidism. He was in sinus rhythm throughout his inpatient stay, and there was no personal history of prothrombotic conditions. His thrombophilia screen was normal. He eventually required jejunectomy due to jejunal ischaemia from extensive involvement of portal and mesenteric veins. He underwent radioiodine ablation for definitive treatment. He is currently hypothyroid and receiving thyroxine replacement. Thyroid storms are hypercoagulable states and can be associated with extensive thromboembolism even in the absence of atrial fibrillation. To our knowledge, this is the first report of severe extensive thromboembolism complicated by severe mesenteric ischaemia and bowel ileus in the setting of a thyroid storm. Routine prophylactic anticoagulation should be considered in those presenting with thyroid storms.

Learning points

Open access

Giuseppina Molinaro, Renato De Vecchis, Elio Badolati, and Raffaele Giannattasio

Summary

The authors examine several reports of the literature concerning thyrotoxic dilated cardiomyopathy. In particular, it is pointed out that this clinical manifestation of hyperthyroidism is rare in readily diagnosed and properly treated hyperthyroidism. Case reports are analyzed comparatively. A case deriving from the direct experience of the authors is also presented.

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Open access

Alessandro Prete, Giada Cosentino, Luca Manetti, Carlo Enrico Ambrosini, Piermarco Papini, Michele Marinò, Liborio Torregrossa, Claudio Marcocci, Rossella Elisei, and Isabella Lupi

Summary

In elderly patients presenting with a solid thyroid mass, the differential diagnosis between benign and malignant lesion is not always straightforward. We present the case of an 85-year-old woman with fever and an enlarged, firm and painful thyroid mass. Blood exams documented a mild thyrotoxicosis with a moderate inflammatory status. Thyroid scintiscan showed an absent uptake of 131I. Ultrasound and CT scan documented a 3 cm hypoechoic nodule with infiltration of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, very suspicious for neoplastic nature. Fine-needle aspiration and tru-cut biopsy were performed. During biopsy, the lesion was partially drained and a brownish fluid was extracted. The culture resulted positive for Klebsiella pneumoniae whereas the pathological analysis of the specimen was not conclusive due to the presence of an intense inflammatory response. A targeted oral antibiotic therapy was then initiated, obtaining only a partial response thus, in order to achieve a definite diagnosis, a minimally invasive hemithyroidectomy was performed. The pathological analysis documented acute suppurative thyroiditis and the clinical conditions of the patient significantly improved after surgical removal of thyroid abscess. In elderly patients with a solid thyroid mass, although neoplastic origin is quite frequent, acute suppurative thyroiditis should be considered as a differential diagnosis.

Learning points:

  • A solid and rapidly growing thyroid mass in elderly patients can hide a multifaceted variety of diseases, both benign and malign.
  • A multidisciplinary team (endocrinologist, surgeon, radiologist and pathologist) could be necessary in order to perform a correct differential diagnosis and therapeutic approach.
  • Surgery can be decisive not only to clarify a clinically uncertain diagnosis, but also to rapidly improve the clinical conditions of the patient.
Open access

Tomomi Nakao, Ken Takeshima, Hiroyuki Ariyasu, Chiaki Kurimoto, Shinsuke Uraki, Shuhei Morita, Yasushi Furukawa, Hiroshi Iwakura, and Takashi Akamizu

Summary

Thyroid storm (TS) is a life-threatening condition that may suffer thyrotoxic patients. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a rescue approach for TS with acute hepatic failure, but it should be initiated with careful considerations. We present a 55-year-old male patient with untreated Graves’ disease who developed TS. Severe hyperthyroidism and refractory atrial fibrillation with congestive heart failure aggregated to multiple organ failure. The patient was recovered by intensive multimodal therapy, but we had difficulty in introducing TPE treatment considering the risk of exacerbation of congestive heart failure due to plasma volume overload. In addition, serum total bilirubin level was not elevated in the early phase to the level of indication for TPE. The clinical course of this patient instructed delayed elevation of bilirubin until the level of indication for TPE in some patients and also demonstrated the risk of exacerbation of congestive heart failure by TPE.

Learning points:

  • Our patient with thyroid storm could be diagnosed and treated promptly using Japan Thyroid Association guidelines for thyroid storm.
  • Delayed elevation of serum bilirubin levels could make the decision of introducing therapeutic plasma exchange difficult in cases of thyroid storm with acute hepatic failure.
  • The risk of worsening congestive heart failure should be considered carefully when performing therapeutic plasma exchange.
Open access

Viviana Ostrovsky, Barak Bar-Zakai, Rafael Miller, Tal Schiller, Alena Kirzhner, Hilla Knobler, and Taiba Zornitzki

Summary

Well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WDTC), including papillary, follicular, and Hurthle-cell types, is characterized by a slow course and usually remain localized to the thyroid. However, a minority of these cases develop distant metastases with the most common sites being lungs, bones, and lymph nodes. Liver metastases of WDTC are rare and are usually found along with other distant metastases sites and in a multiple or diffuse pattern of spread. The recognition of distant metastasis in WDTC has a significant impact on the treatment and prognosis. However, because of their low incidence and awareness, distant metastases are often diagnosed late. Herein, we describe a case of a 71 years old woman who during routine surveillance of a follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer (FV-PTC), 5 years after being treated for her primary thyroid tumor, was found to have a single liver metastasis and underwent liver segmental resection. This case highlights the importance of maintaining vigilant surveillance of patients with WDTC, and illustrates the possibility of unique metastasis at unexpected sites. Further studies are needed to understand the organ tropism of some WDTC leading to distant metastases development and to better prediction of an aggressive course.

Learning points:

  • WDTC patients with distant metastases have a poor prognosis with a 10-year survival of about 50%. The most common sites of distant metastases are lung, bone and lymph nodes.
  • Liver metastases are rare in WDTC, are usually multiple or diffuse and are found along with other distant metastases sites.
  • Single liver metastasis of WDTC is an unexpected pattern of spread, and very few cases are reported in the literature.
  • Rare sites of distant metastases in WDTC can manifest many years after the primary tumor, stressing the importance of maintaining vigilant surveillance.
  • More studies are needed to predict which WDTC tumors may develop a more aggressive course, allowing clinicians to individualize patient management.
Open access

Fumiaki Kawano, Tadato Yonekawa, Hideki Yamaguchi, Nobuhiro Shibata, Kousei Tashiro, Makoto Ikenoue, Shun Munakata, Kazuhiro Higuchi, Hiroyuki Tanaka, Yuichiro Sato, Ayumu Hosokawa, Shinsuke Takeno, Kunihide Nakamura, and Atsushi Nanashima

Summary

A 54-year-old woman was referred to our hospital with a cervical tumor. CT revealed a cervical tumor extending to the upper mediastinum, tracheal deviation and tumor infiltration in the cervical vessels. She was followed-up because no diagnosis of malignancy was made by cytology. However, 2 months later, a CT scan showed enlargement of the tumor and tracheal stenosis, and a surgical biopsy was performed and she was diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC). The tracheal tube with tracheal stenosis could not be removed due to the rapid growth of the tumor, necessitating management by mechanical ventilation. Due to the difficulty of surgical resection, she was treated with lenvatinib. A lenvatinib solution was made and administered via a nasogastric tube. After lenvatinib treatment, the tumor volume decreased and the tracheal stenosis improved. The tracheal tube was removed and oral intake became possible. She was discharged and received ambulatory lenvatinib therapy. The tumor was significantly reduced in size, but gradually grew and was exposed through the cervical wound 6 months later. Esophageal perforation occurred 10 months after the start of treatment. Lenvatinib was re-administered via a nasogastric tube. Eleven months later, the patient died of massive bleeding from the exposed cervical tumor. Patients with advanced ATC may require management with mechanical ventilation for airway stenosis or with a nasogastric tube for esophageal stenosis and perforation. We experienced a case in which lenvatinib was safely administered via a nasogastric tube while performing mechanical ventilation.

Learning points:

  • An anaplastic thyroid cancer patient under mechanical ventilator management was treated with lenvatinib via a nasogastric tube.
  • The lenvatinib solution can easily be prepared and administered via a nasogastric tube.
  • The lenvatinib solution was effective for a patient with difficulty in oral intake.
  • Lenvatinib could also improve the prognosis of an anaplastic thyroid cancer patient with severe airway and esophageal trouble.
Open access

Michael Dick and Michael Croxson

Summary

Polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type II is a rare condition defined by the presence of autoimmune primary adrenal insufficiency along with autoimmune thyroid disease and/or type-I diabetes. Onset of these conditions will usually be separated by several years, though in rare instances it can occur simultaneously. This syndrome can also be associated with various non-endocrine autoimmune diseases, such as vitiligo and alopecia. Coeliac disease is less commonly associated with polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type II and is more commonly associated with polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type III. Here we describe an interesting case of a young male presenting with simultaneous manifestation of Addison’s disease and Graves, with coincident asymptomatic coeliac disease, as a rare manifestation of polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type II.

Learning points:

  • Polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type II is rare, has female predominance, and peak onset in the third and fourth decades of life.
  • Onset of Addison’s disease will usually precede or follow onset of type-I diabetes or autoimmune thyroid disease by several years in this syndrome.
  • Simultaneous onset can occur, as in this case.
  • Coeliac disease is uncommonly associated with this syndrome.
  • Coeliac disease is more commonly associated with polyglandular autoimmune syndrome type III.
  • Coeliac disease should be screened for in patients with associated autoimmune conditions, such as type-I diabetes or autoimmune thyroid disease.
Open access

Mauro Boronat

Summary

Isolated, adult-onset central hypothyroidism is very rare, and its diagnosis can be challenging. A 42-year-old patient was referred for evaluation of a 2.8 cm thyroid nodule. She referred symptoms that could be attributed to hypothyroidism and thyroid tests showed low TSH and normal-low levels of free T4. However, evaluation of the remaining pituitary hormones and pituitary MRI were normal, yet a radionuclide scanning revealed that the thyroid nodule was ‘hot’ and the tracer uptake in the remaining thyroid tissue was suppressed. Interpretation of these studies led to a misdiagnosis of subclinical hyperthyroidism and the patient was treated with radioiodine. Soon after treatment, she developed a frank hypothyroidism without appropriate elevation of TSH and the diagnosis of central hypothyroidism was made a posteriori. Long term follow-up revealed a progressive pituitary failure, with subsequent deficiency of ACTH and GH. This case should alert to the possibility of overlooking central hypothyroidism in patients simultaneously bearing primary thyroid diseases able to cause subclinical hyperthyroidism.

Learning points:

  • Although rarely, acquired central hypothyroidism can occur in the absence of other pituitary hormone deficiencies.
  • In these cases, diagnosis is challenging, as symptoms are unspecific and usually mild, and laboratory findings are variable, including low, normal or even slightly elevated TSH levels, along with low or low-normal concentrations of free T4.
  • In cases with low TSH levels, the coexistence of otherwise common disorders able to cause primary thyroid hyperfunction, such as autonomous nodular disease, may lead to a misdiagnosis of subclinical hyperthyroidism.
Open access

Daramjav Narantsatsral, Takagi Junko, Iwayama Hideyuki, Inukai Daisuke, Takama Hiroyuki, Nomura Yuka, Hirase Syo, Morita Hiroyuki, Otake Kazuo, Ogawa Tetsuya, and Takami Akiyoshi

Summary

Dupilumab an inhibitor of the interleukin (IL)-4R-alpha subunit is used for the treatment of allergic diseases. The patient was a 49-year-old man who received dupilumab for the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis. He presented hyperthyroidism with elevated thyroglobulin and anti-thyroid antibody negativity at 4 months after the initiation of therapy. On scintigraphy, the thyroid radioiodine uptake was low. Ultrasonography showed a diffuse hypoechoic area in the thyroid gland. A pathological study revealed lymphocytic infiltration. The administration of dupilumab was continued because of his atopic dermatitis that showed an excellent response. The patient`s hyperthyroidism changed to hypothyroidism 3 weeks later. Six months later his thyroid function normalized without any treatment. We herein describe the case of a patient with atopic dermatitis who developed painless thyroiditis under treatment with dupilumab. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of this event in the literature.

Learning points:

  • Dupilumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that blocks interleukin-4 and interleukin-13, has been shown to be effective in the treatment atopic dermatitis and asthma with eosinophilia.
  • Painless thyroiditis is characterized by transient hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism and recovery without anti-thyroid treatment.
  • This is the first report of painless thyroiditis as an adverse effect of dupilumab, although conjunctivitis and nasopharyngitis are the main adverse effects of dupilumab.