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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.
Open access

Waralee Chatchomchaun, Yotsapon Thewjitcharoen, Karndumri Krittadhee, Veekij Veerasomboonsin, Soontaree Nakasatien, Sirinate Krittiyawong, Sriurai Porramatikul, Ekgaluck Wanathayanoroj, Auchai Kanchanapituk, Pairoj Junyangdikul and Thep Himathongkam

Summary

In this case report, we describe a 37-year-old male who presented with fever and tender neck mass. Neck ultrasonography revealed a mixed echogenic multiloculated solid-cystic lesion containing turbid fluid and occupying the right thyroid region. Thyroid function tests showed subclinical hyperthyroidism. The patient was initially diagnosed with thyroid abscess and he was subsequently treated with percutaneous aspiration and i.v. antibiotics; however, his clinical symptoms did not improve. Surgical treatment was then performed and a pathological examination revealed a ruptured epidermoid cyst with abscess formation. No thyroid tissue was identified in the specimen. The patient was discharged uneventfully. However, at the 3-month and 1-year follow-ups, the patient was discovered to have developed subclinical hypothyroidism. Neck ultrasonography revealed a normal thyroid gland. This report demonstrates a rare case of epidermoid cyst abscess in the cervical region, of which initial imaging and abnormal thyroid function tests led to the erroneous diagnosis of thyroid abscess.

Learning points:

  • Epidermoid cyst abscess at the cervical region can mimic thyroid abscess.
  • Neck ultrasonography cannot distinguish thyroid abscess from epidermoid cyst abscess.
  • Thyroid function may be altered due to the adjacent soft tissue inflammation.
Open access

Shanika Samarasinghe, Simge Yuksel and Swati Mehrotra

Summary

We report a rare case of concurrent medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) and papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) with intermixed disease in several of the lymph node (LN) metastases in a patient who was subsequently diagnosed with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC). A 56 year old female presented with dysphagia and was found to have a left thyroid nodule and left superior cervical LN with suspicious sonographic features. Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) demonstrated PTC in the left thyroid nodule and MTC in the left cervical LN. Histopathology demonstrated multifocal PTC with 3/21 LNs positive for metastatic PTC. One LN in the left lateral neck dissection exhibited features of both MTC and PTC within the same node. In the right lobe, a 0.3 cm focus of MTC with extra-thyroidal extension was noted. Given persistent calcitonin elevation, a follow-up ultrasound displayed an abnormal left level 4 LN. FNAB showed features of both PTC and MTC on the cytopathology itself. The patient underwent repeat central and left radical neck dissection with 3/6 LNs positive for PTC in the central neck and 2/6 LNs positive for intermixed PTC and MTC in the left neck. There was no evidence of distant metastases on computed tomography and whole body scintigraphy, however a 1.9 x 2.5 cm enhancing mass within the right inter-polar kidney was discovered. This lesion was highly suspicious for RCC. Surgical pathology revealed a 2.5 cm clear cell RCC, Fuhrman grade 2/4, with negative surgical margins. She continues to be observed with stable imaging of her triple malignancies.

Learning points:

  • Mixed medullary-papillary thyroid neoplasm is characterized by the presence of morphological and immunohistochemical features of both medullary and papillary thyroid cancers within the same lesion. Simultaneous occurrence of these carcinomas has been previously reported, but a mixed disease within the same lymph node is an infrequent phenomenon.
  • Prognosis of mixed medullary-papillary thyroid carcinomas is determined by the medullary component. Therefore, when PTC and MTC occur concurrently, the priority should be given to the management of MTC, which involves total thyroidectomy and central lymph node dissection.
  • Patients with thyroid cancer, predominantly PTC, have shown higher than expected rates of RCC. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the combination of MTC, PTC, and RCC in a single patient.
Open access

Nicolás Cruz-Dardíz, Nadyeschka Rivera-Santana, Marina Torres-Torres, Héctor Cintrón-Colón, Shayanne Lajud, Ernesto Solá-Sánchez, Michelle Mangual-García and Alex González-Bóssolo

Summary

Lingual thyroid (LT) gland is the most common type of ectopic thyroid tissue, but it is an extremely rare presentation. We present a case of a 41-year-old Hispanic female patient complaining of dysphonia and dysphagia. As part of the evaluation, fiber optic flexible indirect laryngoscopy (FIL) was performed which revealed a mass at the base of the tongue. The morphological examination was highly suspicious for ectopic thyroid tissue and the diagnosis was confirmed with neck ultrasound and thyroid scintigraphy. Although the patient presented subclinical hypothyroidism, levothyroxine therapy was initiated with a favorable response which included resolution of symptoms and mass size reduction. Our case portrays how thyroid hormone replacement therapy (THRT) may lead to a reduction in the size of the ectopic tissue and improvement of symptoms, thus avoiding the need for surgical intervention which could result in profound hypothyroidism severely affecting the patients’ quality of life.

Learning points:

  • Benign LT and malignant LT are indistinguishable clinically and radiographically for which histopathology is recommended.
  • THRT, radioactive iodine 131 (RAI) therapy, and surgical excision are potential management options for LT.
  • THRT may lead to size reduction of the ectopic tissue and resolution of symptoms avoiding surgical intervention.
Open access

James Prentice, Kate Panter, Ayoma Attygalle, Thomas Ind and Malcolm Prentice

Summary

A 33-year-old female presented with a right 11.6 cm ovarian cyst. Routine pre-operative thyroid function tests showed thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) of less than 0.02 mU/L (0.3–3.05) and a free thyroxine (FT4) of 5.5 pmol/L (10–28.2) suggesting either assay interference, triiodothyronine (T3) ingestion or hypopituitary hypothyroidism. A free triiodothyronine (FT3) level was requested which was high normal 6.9 pmol/L (3.1–8.1). Parallel assays on a different platform were similar but with a raised FT3 of 7.2 pmol/L (3.1–6.8). TSH receptor stimulating antibody (TSHAb) and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) were negative. Antithyroglobulin antibody (TgAb) was positive at 155.6 IU/mL (0–115). She was clinically euthyroid. Thyroid ultrasound showed a normal sized mildly heterogeneous gland with low blood flow and a solitary 1.5 cm U3 (BTA) nodule with higher blood flow. Thyroid Tc99m uptake was very low 0.2% (0.6–3.0) with no nodule uptake. These results demonstrated an extrathyroidal source of excessive autonomous T3 production resulting in the low thyroxine (T4). With carbimazole her TSH rose to 11.9 mU/L, FT4 rose to 7.7 pmol/L and FT3 reduced to 3.6 pmol/L. Histological diagnosis was Struma Ovarii. Her TSH, FT4 and FT3 remained normal thereafter. In conclusion, an extrathyroidal source of high T3 secretion was diagnosed using routine thyroid tests and scans. We believe this is the first description of a Struma Ovarii exclusively secreting T3 hormone characterised by the paradoxical rise of a low FT4 to normal with treatment. Two years later she developed non-secreting peritoneal deposits of highly differentiated follicular carcinoma.

Learning points:

  • Abnormally low TSH and FT4 levels suggestive of possible T3 ingestion, or less likely, hypopituitary hypothyroidism should always be followed by an assay of FT3.
  • The diagnosis of an extrathyroidal source of T3 can be made using conventional thyroid tests, thyroid ultrasound scanning and technetium thyroid uptake and scan imaging. In a pre-menopausal patient this avoids a radiation dose to the pelvis.
  • Pelvic radioisotope scanning of a suspected Struma Ovarii causing thyrotoxicosis can be reserved for patients whose thyroid function remains abnormal after initial surgery.
  • Carbimazole is effective in the treatment of extrathyroidal autonomous T3 hormone production from a Struma Ovarii.
  • The pathological appearance of a Struma Ovarii is not a guide to its malignancy. Even with a benign appearance they can disseminate to peritoneum, as highly differentiated follicular carcinoma (previously known as peritoneal strumosis).
  • Hyperthyroid secretion by a Struma Ovarii may not be replicated in the metastatic follicular carcinoma in the peritoneum.
Open access

Anna Popławska-Kita, Marta Wielogórska, Łukasz Poplawski, Katarzyna Siewko, Agnieszka Adamska, Piotr Szumowski, Piotr Myśliwiec, Janusz Myśliwiec, Joanna Reszeć, Grzegorz Kamiński, Janusz Dzięcioł, Dorota Tobiaszewska, Małgorzata Szelachowska and Adam Jacek Krętowski

Summary

Papillary thyroid gland carcinoma is the most common type of malignancy of the endocrine system. Metastases to the pituitary gland have been described as a complication of papillary thyroid cancer in few reported cases since 1965. We report the case of a 68-year-old female patient with a well-differentiated form of thyroid gland cancer. Despite it being the most common malignant cancer of the endocrine system, with its papillary form being one of the two most frequently diagnosed thyroid cancers, the case we present is extremely rare. Sudden cardiac arrest during ventricular fibrillation occurred during hospitalization. Autopsy of the patient revealed papillary carcinoma of the thyroid, follicular variant, with metastasis to the sella turcica, and concomitant sarcoidosis of heart, lung, and mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes. Not only does atypical metastasis make our patient’s case most remarkable, but also the postmortem diagnosis of sarcoidosis makes her case particularly unusual.

Learning points:

  • The goal of presenting this case is to raise awareness of the clinical heterogeneity of papillary cancer and promote early diagnosis of unexpected metastasis and coexisting diseases to improve clinical outcomes.
  • Clinicians must be skeptical. They should not fall into the trap of diagnostic momentum or accept diagnostic labels at face value. Regardless of the potential mechanisms, clinicians should be aware of the possibility of the coexistence of thyroid cancer and sarcoidosis as a differential diagnosis of lymphadenopathy.
  • This case highlights the importance of the diagnostic and therapeutic planning process and raises awareness of the fact that one uncommon disease could be masked by another extremely rare disorder.
Open access

Serena Khoo, Greta Lyons, Andrew Solomon, Susan Oddy, David Halsall, Krishna Chatterjee and Carla Moran

Summary

Familial dysalbuminemic hyperthyroxinemia (FDH) is a cause of discordant thyroid function tests (TFTs), due to interference in free T4 assays, caused by the mutant albumin. The coexistence of thyroid disease and FDH can further complicate diagnosis and potentially result in inappropriate management. We describe a case of both Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease occurring on a background of FDH. A 42-year-old lady with longstanding autoimmune hypothyroidism was treated with thyroxine but in varying dosage, because TFTs, showing high Free T4 (FT4) and normal TSH levels, were discordant. Discontinuation of thyroxine led to marked TSH rise but with normal FT4 levels. She then developed Graves’ disease and thyroid ophthalmopathy, with markedly elevated FT4 (62.7 pmol/L), suppressed TSH (<0.03 mU/L) and positive anti-TSH receptor antibody levels. However, propylthiouracil treatment even in low dosage (100 mg daily) resulted in profound hypothyroidism (TSH: 138 mU/L; FT4: 4.8 pmol/L), prompting its discontinuation and recommencement of thyroxine. The presence of discordant thyroid hormone measurements from two different methods suggested analytical interference. Elevated circulating total T4 (TT4), (227 nmol/L; NR: 69–141) but normal thyroxine binding globulin (TBG) (19.2 µg/mL; NR: 14.0–31.0) levels, together with increased binding of patient’s serum to radiolabelled T4, suggested FDH, and ALB sequencing confirmed a causal albumin variant (R218H). This case highlights difficulty ascertaining true thyroid status in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease and coexisting FDH. Early recognition of FDH as a cause for discordant TFTs may improve patient management.

Learning points:

  • The typical biochemical features of familial dysalbuminemic hyperthyroxinemia (FDH) are (genuinely) raised total and (spuriously) raised free T4 concentrations due to enhanced binding of the mutant albumin to thyroid hormones, with normal TBG and TSH concentrations.
  • Given the high prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease, it is not surprising that assay interference from coexisting FDH may lead to discordant thyroid function tests confounding diagnosis and resulting in inappropriate therapy.
  • Discrepant thyroid hormone measurements using two different immunoassay methods should alert to the possibility of laboratory analytical interference. The diagnosis of FDH is suspected if there is a similar abnormal familial pattern of TFTs and increased binding of radiolabelled 125I-T4 to the patient’s serum, and can be confirmed by ALB gene sequencing.
  • When autoimmune thyroid disease coexists with FDH, TSH levels are the most reliable biochemical marker of thyroid status. Measurement of FT4 using equilibrium dialysis or ultrafiltration are more reliable but less readily available.
Open access

M L Gild, L Heath, J Y Paik, R J Clifton-Bligh and B G Robinson

Summary

Struma ovarii is a rare, usually benign ovarian tumour with malignancy occurring in <5% of cases. Metastases, particularly seeding to bone, are extremely rare. Presentation is variable but often features local pain and/or ascites and hyperthyroidism may occur. It is not established how to best treat and follow patients with extensive disease. Case reports of radioiodine (I131) ablative therapy following thyroidectomy have shown reduced recurrence. We describe the case of a 33-year-old woman who presented with bone pain and was diagnosed with skeletal metastases with features of follicular thyroid carcinoma. However, thyroid pathology was benign. She recalled that 5 years prior, an ovarian teratoma was excised, classified at that time as a dermoid cyst. Retrospective review of this pathology confirmed struma ovarii without obvious malignant features. The patient was found to have widespread metastases to bone and viscera and her thyroglobulin was >3000 µg/L following recombinant TSH administration prior to her first dose of I131. At 25 months following radioiodine treatment, she is in remission with an undetectable thyroglobulin and clear I131 surveillance scans. This case demonstrates an unusual presentation of malignant struma ovarii together with challenges of predicting metastatic disease, and demonstrates a successful radioiodine regimen inducing remission.

Learning points:

  • Malignant transformation of struma ovarii (MSO) is extremely rare and even rarer are metastatic deposits in bone and viscera.
  • MSO can be difficult to predict by initial ovarian pathology, analogous to the difficulty in some cases of differentiating between follicular thyroid adenoma and carcinoma.
  • No consensus exists on the management for post operative treatment of MSO; however, in this case, three doses of 6Gbq radioiodine therapy over a short time period eliminated metastases to viscera and bone.
  • Patients should continue to have TSH suppression for ~5 years.
  • Monitoring thyroglobulin levels can predict recurrence.
Open access

Aishah Ekhzaimy, Afshan Masood, Seham Alzahrani, Waleed Al-Ghamdi, Daad Alotaibi and Muhammad Mujammami