Endocrine Journal
Online ISSN : 1348-4540
Print ISSN : 0918-8959
ISSN-L : 0918-8959
Classification of thyroid follicular cell tumors: with special reference to borderline lesions [Review]
Kennichi KakudoYanhua BaiZhiyan LiuYaqion LiYasuhiro ItoTakashi Ozaki
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2012 Volume 59 Issue 1 Pages 1-12


We propose a new classification of thyroid follicular cell tumors which is correlated with patient’s prognosis. It is unique as to two new categories: borderline malignancy between benign and malignant, and moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma (MDA) as a differentiation classification to stratify tumor aggressiveness. As to diagnostic criteria, we recommend invasiveness (capsular and vascular invasion) to separate benign and malignant and it should not be based on presence or absence of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) type nuclear features (PTC-N). Thus borderline malignancy in our new classification includes some of the formerly malignant tumors and they are 1) papillary microcarcinoma, 2) encapsulated conventional PTC (EncPTC), 3) encapsulated follicular variant PTC (EnFVPTC), 4) well differentiated tumor of uncertain malignant potential (WDT-UMP), 5) follicular tumors of uncertain malignant potential (FT-UMP), and 6) capsular invasion only follicular thyroid carcinoma (FTC). Review of the literature revealed that those thyroid tumors have consistently excellent outcome. Well differentiated follicular cell adenocarcinoma (WDA) in our classification includes common type PTC and low-risk follicular carcinoma (FTC). They are invasive (diffuse infiltrative) common type PTC and minimally invasive type FTC with less than 4 foci of angioinvasion. Moderately differentiated follicular cell adenocarcinoma (MDA) includes FTC with angioinvasion (more than 4), aggressive variants of PTC, such as tall cell, columnar cell, solid, loss of cellular polarity/cohesiveness (hobnail) variants and encapsulated carcinoma with high grade histology. Poorly differentiated carcinoma (PDC) includes PDC of WHO definition, insular carcinoma, tumors with minor anaplastic transformation and tumors with distant metastasis at presentation.

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© The Japan Endocrine Society
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