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

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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On pathologic examination, Hürthle cell carcinoma, like follicular carcinoma, is differentiated from Hürthle cell adenoma by the presence of capsular invasion, vascular invasion, or both. On gross evaluation, Hürthle cell carcinomas appear brown and solid. Most have an appreciable capsule. Under microscopy, the tumors have a solid or trabecular growth pattern of large, granular, polygonal Hürthle cells.

Because malignant tumors are difficult to identify on the basis of cellular elements alone, Hürthle cell tumors identified on FNAB findings cannot be categorized as malignant or benign. Therefore, when FNAB results suggest a Hürthle cell neoplasm, a surgically obtained specimen is required.

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