Hobnail Variant of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: a Literature Review

Francesca Ambrosi, Alberto Righi, Costantino Ricci, Lori A. Erickson, Ricardo V. Lloyd, Sofia Asioli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Papillary thyroid carcinoma is the most common thyroid malignancy and it is usually associated with a good prognosis. However, recurrence, metastases, and cancer death may occur in 10 to 15% of patients with more aggressive types of papillary thyroid carcinoma, such as tall cell, columnar cell, solid variant, or the more recently described hobnail variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma. Papillary thyroid carcinoma with a prominent hobnail pattern is a moderately differentiated papillary thyroid carcinoma variant with aggressive clinical behavior and significant mortality. The hobnail variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma shows prominent hobnail features, which have also been referred to as micropapillary. The typical hobnail/micropapillary morphological features show loss of cellular polarity/cohesiveness and support an epithelial-mesenchymal transition as a possible mechanism of metastasis. BRAF p.V600E is the most common mutation in papillary thyroid carcinoma, including the hobnail variant; recent and continuing studies are focused on defining other molecular anomalies that may be useful for prognostic stratification and may provide therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrine Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Aggressive variant
  • BRAF mutation
  • Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
  • Hobnail
  • Papillary thyroid carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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