Cytopathology of follicular tumours of the thyroid with clear cell change

Cytopathology. 1991;2(3):125-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.1991.tb00397.x.


A retrospective cytological study of nine follicular tumours of the thyroid with clear cell change was undertaken. In five clear cell adenomas and one moderately differentiated clear cell follicular carcinoma the epithelial cells occurred singly or in sheets and clusters; they sometimes assumed a trabecular or follicular pattern. The cells usually had pale diffusely vacuolated cytoplasm with ill-defined boundaries, a variable degree of anisonucleosis, nucleolar enlargement, and nuclear overlapping. Smears from a signet-ring cell adenoma contained in addition a few cells with large cytoplasmic vacuoles and compressed eccentric nuclei. In these cases a cytological diagnosis of 'follicular lesion' (or follicular neoplasia), clear cell type or signet-ring cell type, was given. A cytodiagnosis of 'carcinoma' was made only in the poorly differentiated follicular carcinoma-clear cell variant studied which showed unequivocal features of malignancy. Features suggestive of thyroid cyst, nodular goitre, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and cell hyperactivity (marginal vacuoles, 'fire flare') were also found in the aspirated specimens of these cases of clear cell tumour of the thyroid.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*