Unresectable huge sternal and mediastinal metastasis of follicular thyroid carcinoma; radiotherapy as first-line and palliative therapy
Asli Nar Demirer1, Semra Ayturk1, Neslihan Bascil Tutuncu1, Alptekin Gursoy1, Yucel Pak2 & Nilgun Guvener Demirag1
Distant metastases as initial manifestation of follicular thyroid carcinoma is rare. We report a case of an unusual initial presentation of follicular thyroid carcinoma on follow-up. A 52-year-old woman presented with a 12-month history of progressively enlarging mass in the anterior chest wall. The mass was fixed to the chest wall, measuring 12×10 cm in diameter. Computed tomography demonstrated a lobulated soft-tissue mass (17×11×6 cm) destructing sternum and extending into the anterior mediastinum. There was no lung metastasis. Invasion of tumor to the ascending aorta, superior vena cava, and right atrium could not be excluded. Multiple lymph nodes were observed in the supraclavicular regions. Ultrasonography of the thyroid gland showed 46×37 mm nodule in the left lobe with milimetric gross calcifications and cystic-necrotic areas. Hyperthyroidism was detected. Biopsy from this nodule and the sternal mass revealed typical histology of follicular carcinoma. She was considered inoperable. Since there was huge tumor burden and iodinated contrast exposure for several times during evaluation, we decided to treat the patient with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) rather than radioiodine as first-line therapy. After a course of conventional radiation with 50 Gy in 25 fractions over 4 weeks, encompassing the thyroid bed and the gross disease, tumor regressed remarkably in 6 months. In conclusion, when surgical resection is not possible, EBRT may be used for palliative purpose to obtain local control for extensive disease as first-line therapy. The indications of EBRT for differentiated thyroid cancer still remain poorly defined.