c l i n i c a l f o l i o s : d i s c u s s i o n

Hurthle Cell Tumors



Related narrative: Hurthle Cell Tumor of the Thyroid

Hurthle cell tumors of the thyroid are a variant of follicular cell neoplasms. Hurthle cells are derived from follicular epithelium. They are larger in size and are characterized by eosinophilic granular cytoplasm, a manifestation of abundant mitochondria. Hurthle cells are found scattered in a variety of benign thyroid conditions. True Hurthle cell neoplasms are usually solitary encapsulated nodules, and may exhibit a solid or follicular pattern.

A cold thyroid nodule must be characterized in order to differentiate benign conditions from thyroid cancer. Most (95%) thyroid nodules are benign. Thyroid cancer is rare (1% of new cancers in the US/year). Only 10% of thyroid cancers are follicular. (See also medullary thyroid cancer and thyroid cancer discussions.) The most important diagnostic test is fine needle aspiration.


Leight GS, in Sabiston D (ed), Textbook of Surgery, 15th ed, WB Saunders, Phila, 1997: 629-635.

Jaques D and Mersey JH, Thyroid Cancer, in Cameron JL, Current Surgical Therapy, Mosby, St. Louis, 1995: 514-519.

This page was last modified on 2-Nov-2000.