What is the pathology of papillary carcinoma in patients with thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 09, 2018
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
  • Print
Answer

Answer

On gross pathologic examination, papillary carcinomas are whitish invasive neoplasms with ill-defined margins. Under microscopy, the tumors are unencapsulated neoplasms that characteristically grow with papillae consisting of neoplastic epithelium overlying fibrovascular stalks. Very differentiated tumors can have a complex arborizing pattern. Nuclei have an empty ground-glass appearance with characteristic nuclear grooves and pseudoinclusions. Mitoses are rare.

Another histologic feature is the presence of psammoma bodies, which occur in 50% of papillary carcinomas. Psammoma bodies are calcific concretions that have a circular laminated appearance. They are found in the stroma of the tumor. In addition, many papillary carcinomas contain areas that show a follicular growth pattern. However, when the nuclear features in follicular areas are the same as those in papillary areas, the tumor behaves like a classic papillary carcinoma and should be designated as such. Papillary carcinoma may be multicentric, with foci present in both the ipsilateral and contralateral lobes.


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!