Pathologic features, proliferative activity, and cyclin D1 expression in Hurthle cell neoplasms of the thyroid

Lori A. Erickson, Long Jin, John R. Goellner, Christine Lohse, V. Shane Pankratz, Lawrence R. Zukerberg, Geoffrey B. Thompson, Jon A. Van Heerden, Clive S. Grant, Ricardo V. Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Making a histologic distinction between Hurthle cell adenomas and carcinomas sometimes may be difficult. We analyzed a series of Hurthle cell lesions to determine whether specific histologic features and expression of Ki67 and cyclin D1 could be useful in distinguishing Hurthle cell adenomas from carcinomas. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues from 128 Hurthle cell neoplasms, including 59 adenomas; 55 carcinomas; and 14 tumors classified as neoplasms of uncertain malignant behavior (UMB), which had equivocal capsular invasion but no vascular invasion, were analyzed for expression of Ki67 and cyclin D1 by immunostaining. The distribution of immunoreactivity for Ki67 with antibody MIB-1 was analyzed by quantifying the percentage of positive nuclei that was expressed as the labeling index. None of the patients with adenomas or UMB tumors developed recurrent or metastatic disease after a mean follow-up of 7.8 and 7.9 years, respectively. Of the 55 patients with Hurthle cell carcinoma, 19 were associated with metastatic disease, 13 of whom died with disease. No patient with a Hurthle cell carcinoma without vascular invasion developed metastatic disease. The mean tumor size for Hurthle cell carcinomas (4.8 cm) was significantly larger than that of Hurthle cell adenomas (3.1 cm) or UMB tumors (3.7 cm). No patient with a Hurthle cell tumor smaller than 3.5 cm developed metastatic disease, even when vascular invasion was present. The Ki67 labeling index in Hurthle cell carcinomas (10.0 ± 1.2) was 3-fold higher than in Hurthle cell adenomas (3.2 ± 0.3). The Ki67 labeling index in the UMB group was 5.0 ± 0.7. Cyclin D1 showed diffuse nuclear staining in 1 of the 59 (1.7%) Hurthle cell adenomas, in 10 of the 55 (18%) Hurthle cell carcinomas, and in none of the UMB tumors. In summary, analyses of the cell cycle proteins Ki67 and cyclin D1 in Hurthle cell thyroid neoplasms indicate that these markers may assist in distinguishing some Hurthle cell carcinomas from adenomas. Among the Hurthle cell carcinomas, large tumor size and vascular invasion are associated with clinically aggressive tumors. Our study also suggests that Hurthle cell neoplasms with only equivocal capsular invasion and no vascular invasion should behave in a benign manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000


  • Cyclin D1
  • Hurthle cell
  • Ki67
  • Thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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