Tall cell variant of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma: Clinicopathologic features with BRAFV600E mutational analysis

Jane Bernstein, Renu K. Virk, Pei Hui, Avinash Prasad, William H. Westra, Giovanni Tallini, Adebowale J. Adeniran, Robert Udelsman, Clarence T. Sasaki, Sanziana A. Roman, Julie A. Sosa, Manju L. Prasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The tall cell variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma is an aggressive subtype that generally presents as a large tumor in the advanced stage; however, little is known about the tall cell variant of microcarcinoma (tumors measuring <1 cm). In this study, we compare the tall cell variant of microcarcinoma (microTCV) with classic papillary microcarcinomas to examine the hypothesis that, despite the small size, the microTCV may be more aggressive than the classic papillary microcarcinoma. Methods: We identified 27 microTCV patients and compared their clinicopathologic features and BRAFV600E mutational status with classic papillary microcarcinomas matched by age and size. The patients with microTCV included 22 women and 5 men aged 33 to 74 years (median age, 56 years). All patients underwent total thyroidectomy; 20 patients had lymph node dissection. Results: Tumor size in microTCV patients ranged from 2 mm to 10 mm (median, 7 mm). Extrathyroidal extension and lymphovascular invasion were seen in 9 (33%) and 4 (15%) tumors, respectively. Thirteen patients (48%) harbored multifocal papillary carcinomas. Metastasis to central compartment lymph nodes was seen in 8 patients and to lateral cervical nodes in 3 patients. Nine of the 25 patients (36%) presented at an advanced stage (stage III/IVA). The BRAFV600E mutation was detected in 25 of 27 tumors (92.6%). In contrast, age- and size-matched classic papillary microcarcinomas (n=26) showed no extrathyroidal extension (p=0.002), lymphovascular invasion in 1, central compartment lymph node metastasis in 2, lateral cervical node metastasis in 1, multifocal tumors in 10 (38.5%), the BRAFV600E mutation in 20 (76.9%), and it infrequently presented in stage III/IVA (7.7%, p=0.02). Conclusions: The microTCV form is associated with aggressive features at presentation, and it should be differentiated from other papillary thyroid microcarcinomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1525-1531
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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