Thyroid carcinoma metastatic to the skin: a cutaneous manifestation of a widely disseminated malignancy

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997 Apr;36(4):531-7. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(97)70239-1.


Background: Cutaneous metastases develop in 2% to 9% of patients with an internal malignancy. Thyroid carcinoma metastatic to the skin is a rare clinical entity.

Objective: Our purpose was to study the clinical and pathologic features and outcome in patients with cutaneous metastasis from thyroid carcinoma.

Methods: The study included a retrospective analysis of six patients with skin metastases from thyroid carcinoma and a review of the English-language literature since 1964.

Results: Including our six patients, 43 patients with skin metastases from thyroid carcinoma have been reported. Papillary carcinoma was the most common (41%), followed by follicular (28%), anaplastic (15%), and medullary carcinomas (15%). The scalp was the most common site of metastasis. For our patients, the average length of survival after diagnosis of cutaneous metastasis was 19 months.

Conclusion: Cutaneous metastasis from thyroid carcinoma is rare and occurs in the setting of disseminated neoplastic disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / secondary
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*