The cytologic category of oncocytic (Hurthle) cell neoplasm mostly includes low-risk lesions at histology: an institutional experience

Esther Rossi, Marco Raffaelli, Alfredo Pontecorvi, Maurizio Martini, Patrizia Straccia, Ilaria Pennacchia, Eleonora Marrucci, Celestino Pio Lombardi, Guido Fadda

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24 Citations (Scopus)


DESIGN: The cytological diagnosis of oncocytic/Hurthle cell neoplasms (OCN) represents a challenge with which cytopathologists face up to in their practice. The majority of these lesions undergo surgery for a definitive characterization of the nature mainly due to their more aggressive behavior than other malignant follicular lesions. In this study, we aimed at the evaluation of the effective malignant rate in a large cohort of OCNs. METHODS: From January 2008 to December 2011, we analyzed 150 cyto-histological OCNs and 64 benign oncocytic/Hurthle lesions (BOL). Both groups of patients were analyzed for clinical and cyto-histological parameters. All the nodules were sampled under sonographic guidance and processed with the liquid-based cytological method. RESULTS: In agreement with literature, we found a significant correlation only with female gender in both OCN (P=0.0160) and BOL groups. The 64 BOLs were histologically diagnosed as 15 Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT), 45 hyperplastic nodules in HT, and four papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC, 6.2%). The 150 OCNs resulted in 141 (94%) oncocytic adenomas and nine (6%) malignant lesions. The latter group included five oncocytic carcinomas (OCC), three oncocytic variants of PTC, and one macrofollicular PTC featured by mild nuclear clearing with a dispersive cellular pattern. The malignant rate was respectively 6.2% in BOLs without any OCC whereas 3.3% OCC diagnosed in the OCN category. CONCLUSIONS: Our OCNs mostly resulted in histological adenomas with a lower rate of malignancy than in other series. Some morphological parameters (nuclear clearing, dysplasia, and dispersive cellular pattern) might be helpful in stratifying OCN patients into different risks of malignancy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-655
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • low-risk lesions
  • oncocytic (Hurthle) cell neoplasm


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