Characteristics of clear cell renal cell carcinoma metastases to the thyroid gland: A systematic review.

Thyroid gland is an uncommon site for metastases from clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC) and literature is scarce. Due to the variable and often long lag time before development of metastases in patients with CCRCC, thyroid nodules may be misdiagnosed initially as benign. This systematic review aims at a better understanding of the nature of these metastases.

A bibliographic search was performed using PubMed (1990-2019), key words being "renal cell carcinoma, thyroid, kidney cancer, clear cell." 147 cases were analyzed. The patient's characteristics assessed were: age, sex, stage, size of metastases, lag time, diagnostic modality, initial symptoms, treatment and outcome in last documented follow up. Binary logistic regression, Spearman's rho and ANOVA were used to identify differences between the existing variables.

The mean age (± SD) was 64 ± (10) years in males and 64 (± 11) in females. The mean lag time to diagnosis of thyroid metastases was 8.7 (± 6.3) years. Gender distribution of the patients was 46.3% male, 52.4% female. There was a weak correlation between lag time and size of metastases, not statistically significant. Size of metastases was significantly higher in symptomatic patients (6.06 ± 3.51 cm) compared to those with painless mass (4.6 ± 0.29 cm) and asymptomatic ones (3.93 ± 1.99 cm) (P = 0.03). Fine Needle Aspiration was diagnostic in 29.4% of cases, 47.1% were non diagnostic. Most patients (80.3%) underwent thyroid surgery. At 1 year follow up, 55.6% of patients operated were alive versus 35.3% who did not have surgery, though this was not statistically significant (P = 0.1).

A larger size of thyroid metastasis was more likely to present with symptomatology. A high index of suspicion is warranted when evaluating thyroid nodules in CCRCC patients. There was no significant difference in outcome between patients who underwent surgery and those who did not. With the wider use of immune check-point inhibitors and tyrosine kinase inhibitors in metastatic CCRCC, surgery may eventually be reserved only for palliative purposes.

World journal of clinical cases. 2019 Nov 06 [Epub]

Karam Khaddour, Nadiia Marernych, Wendy L Ward, Jerry Liu, Theodora Pappa

Department of Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago, IL 60050, United States. ., Department of Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago, IL 60050, United States., Northwestern Medicine McHenry, Chicago, IL 60050, United States., Advocate Medical Group Oncology, Crystal Lake, IL 60014, United States.