Single brain metastasis from thyroid cancer: Report of twelve cases and review of the literature

M. Salvati, A. Frati, G. Rocchi, R. Masciangelo, A. Antonaci, F. M. Gagliardi, R. Delfini

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Brain metastases from thyroid carcinoma is unusual, with a frequency of 1%. We report twelve patients, with single brain metastases and with a karnofsky performance scale score >60 at admission. No metastasis was seen during the uptake of iodine-131, even in the cases from differentiated thyroid carcinoma, suggesting absence of differentiation between primary and metastatic disease. The histopathology of thyroid carcinomas was anaplastic in five cases, differentiated in six, and medullary in one. Only in four patients, brain was the unique site of metastatic spread; in others, bones and lungs were also involved. All metastases were surgically removed, and all patients were treated with radiotherapy (45 Gy) in the postoperative course. The survival average was 19.8 months, and the quality of life was satisfactory in all patients. One patient remained alive till 5 years. Anaplastic histopathology and size of the primitive, and also bone involvement of thyroid disease were significant risk factors in our cases (p <0.05). According to the literature, surgery is the best therapeutical choice. Alternative strategies in the management of brain metastases, such as iodine-131 therapy, are discussed, paying particular attention to the relevant side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Brain metastases
  • Iodine-131 uptake
  • Prognostic factors
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Thyroid carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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