Metastatic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma Involving the Thyroid Gland: A Clinicopathologic Study of 17 Patients

Jaylou M. Velez Torres, Laurence M. Briski, Ernesto Martinez Duarte, Peter M. Sadow, Darcy A. Kerr, Oleksandr N. Kryvenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background. Metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is one of the most common secondary thyroid malignancies. Diagnosis can be challenging, particularly if presenting many years after initial diagnosis. We reviewed clinicopathologic features and immunoprofile of metastatic clear cell RCC in thyroid. Design. We identified 17 patients from 2003-2021. Clinical data were obtained from medical records, and slides were retrieved and reviewed. Results. Seventeen patients (12 male and 5 female) included 12 thyroidectomies, 3 core biopsies, 1 excisional biopsy, and 1 fine-needle aspiration. The average patient age was 68.7 years (range, 45-88 years). Sixteen patients had history of clear cell RCC, and in 1 patient, the clear cell RCC was discovered after the thyroid metastasis was found. Thyroid gland metastases were on average diagnosed 90.7 months after the diagnosis of the renal primary (range, 24-240 months). Patients presented with a new palpable mass (n = 11) or dyspnea/stridor (n = 1). Five tumors were incidentally found via surveillance imaging. In 2 patients, metastases occurred within follicular thyroid neoplasms. All metastases showed conspicuous sinusoidal vasculature between the tumor nests and areas of myxoid degeneration. A prominent thick fibromuscular pseudocapsule was evident in 10 resections. Immunohistochemistry (n = 5) showed that the metastases were positive for PAX8, CA9, and CD10, while negative for keratin 7, thyroglobulin, and TTF1. Conclusions. Metastatic clear cell RCC involving the thyroid gland is infrequent and typically occurs remotely after the initial diagnosis. Cytologic and histologic features may show significant overlap with primary thyroid lesions. Immunohistochemistry can help reliably distinguish metastases from primary thyroid neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-752
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • clear cell
  • fibromuscular pseudocapsule
  • metastasis
  • renal cell carcinoma
  • thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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