Thyroid spindle epithelial tumor with thymus-like differentiation (SETTLE): case report and review

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2010 Oct;54(7):657-62. doi: 10.1590/s0004-27302010000700011.


Spindle epithelial tumor with thymus-like element (SETTLE) is a rare malignant neoplasm of the thyroid, occurring predominantly in children, adolescents, and young adults. SETTLE usually presents itself as a thyroid mass, without metastases at diagnosis. It is believed to derive from branchial pouch or thymic remnant tissue showing primitive thymic differentiation. This article reports the clinical, cytological, histological and immunohistochemical features of a SETTLE in a 3-year-old girl. Microscopic exam revealed a nodular, highly cellular neoplasm displayed in the classic biphasic pattern, with mixture of prominent spindle cell component and a minor glandular component lined by mucinous or respiratory-type epithelium. The immunohistochemical study showed strong and diffuse positivity for pan-CK, vimentin and smooth muscle actin. The present case is the first SETTLE case reported in Brazil. To date, the patient described remains without evidence of recurrence or metastasis 5 years after surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology*
  • Thymus Gland / pathology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*