Renal metastases from thyroid papillary carcinoma: Study of sodium iodide symporter expression

R. C. Smallridge, M. R. Castro, J. C. Morris, P. R. Young, J. C. Reynolds, M. J. Merino, N. J. Sarlis

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28 Scopus citations


Kidney metastases from thyroid cancer are rare. We report two such patients and demonstrate that the in vivo 131I uptake by the kidney metastasis is associated with high levels of sodium iodide (Na+/I-) symporter (NIS) expression in the first case. Case 1: A 61-year-old woman with papillary thyroid carcinoma-follicular variant (PTC-FV) presented with scapular metastasis. After thyroidectomy and scapulectomy, a 131I posttherapy scan showed left upper quadrant uptake. A 3.0-cm metastatic PTC-FV deposit was removed by partial nephrectomy. Case 2: A 53-year-old woman presented with back pain. A computed tomography (CT) scan showed a 3.5-cm renal mass, a multinodular goiter, and lung metastases thought secondary to a renal cell carcinoma. A unilateral nephrectomy revealed metastatic PTC-FV. After thyroidectomy, a 131I posttherapy scan showed lung and skeletal metastases. NIS immunoreactivity in tumoral tissue was strongly positive in the primary tumor, shoulder, and kidney metastasis in case 1, as well as in the primary tumor in case 2. Spotty, low-level NIS expression was observed in the kidney metastasis in case 2. In conclusion, kidney metastases of PTC-FV may occasionally retain adequate levels of NIS expression, enabling their detection during life. Thus, intense uptake in the abdomen during 131I imaging should not be assumed to be physiological gastrointestinal tract residual radionuclide activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-804
Number of pages10
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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