Metastases to the thyroid gland: review of incidence, clinical presentation, diagnostic problems and surgery, our experience

J Endocrinol Invest. 2020 Nov;43(11):1555-1560. doi: 10.1007/s40618-020-01282-w. Epub 2020 May 8.


Purpose: Metastases to the thyroid gland are uncommon and they represent 1-3% of all thyroid malignancy. The aim of this study is to analyze the diagnostic problems and the role of surgery in metastatic lesions to the thyroid.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed all patients who had undergone thyroidectomy at our Center. Out of more than 5000 thyroidectomies performed, only 9 cases had metastases to the thyroid gland.

Results: The most common primary tumor arises from kidney and lung. Non-thyroid malignancies diagnosis was obtained with US, FNAC and PET-CT. Surgery was performed in all our series (except for one case) and the expectancy of life after surgery is related to the primary tumor and comorbidities of patients.

Conclusion: The thyroid gland can be a rare site of metastases for many tumors, especially in an abnormal thyroid gland. Surgery is associated with an improved survival and the extension of surgery depends on the extension of the neoplastic lesion.

Keywords: Metastases; Non-thyroid malignancy; Survival; Thyroid gland; Thyroid malignancy.

Publication types

  • Review