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Case Reports in Endocrinology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9707031, 3 pages
Case Report

Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma: Ectopic Malignancy versus Metastatic Disease

Endocrinology, SJCH, San Juan, PR, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Yanery’s Agosto-Vargas; moc.liamtoh@vaiknay

Received 17 October 2016; Revised 15 March 2017; Accepted 2 April 2017; Published 18 June 2017

Academic Editor: Osamu Isozaki

Copyright © 2017 Yanery’s Agosto-Vargas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Papillary thyroid carcinoma frequently metastasizes to regional lymph nodes. However, cervical lymph node metastasis as a sole manifestation of occult papillary thyroid carcinoma is rarely observed. Ectopic thyroid is an uncommon condition defined as the presence of thyroid tissue at a site other than pretracheal area. Approximately 1–3% of all ectopic thyroid tissue is located in the lateral neck. This entity may represent the only functional thyroid tissue in the body. Malignant transformation of ectopic thyroid is uncommon; but even rarer is the development of papillary carcinoma on it. We present a case of a 33-year-old man with an incidental lateral neck mass diagnosed after a motor vehicle accident. Total thyroidectomy and lymph node resection were completed without evidence of papillary thyroid carcinoma. Malignant transformation of heterotopic thyroid tissue was the final diagnosis. The possibility of an ectopic thyroid cancer should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a pathological mass in the neck. The uniqueness of this case strives in the rarity that the thyroid gland was free of malignancy, despite ectopic tissue being positive for thyroid carcinoma. Management strategies, including performance of total thyroidectomy, neck dissection, and treatment with radioiodine, should be based on individualized risk assessment.