Bone Metastases from Thyroid Carcinoma of Follicular Origin: A Single Institutional Experience

Claudia Matta-Coelho, Joana Simões-Pereira, Helena Vilar, Valeriano Leite

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Overall, 2-13% of patients with thyroid cancer develop bone metastases (BM). In addition to decreased survival, patients with BM may present skeletal-related events (SRE) that impair the quality of life. Our objectives were to characterize clinical features, treatment approaches, and outcomes of patients with thyroid cancer and BM. Material and Methods: We identified patients diagnosed with thyroid carcinoma of follicular origin and BM followed at the Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa Francisco Gentil (IPOLFG), Lisbon, Portugal, from 1991 to 2017. SRE were defined as the need for bone irradiation, bone surgery, spinal cord compression, or pathologic fractures. Results: The final cohort consisted of 86 patients, with a median follow-up time of 54 months (IQR 22.8-82.8), mainly women (67.4%), and a median age of 64 years (IQR 53.6-71.2). BM was the initial presentation of thyroid cancer in 36.0% of the patients. Bone involvement was multiple in 59.3% of the cases. Papillary carcinoma was the most frequent histological type, present in 47.7% of the patients, of which 56.1% presented the follicular variant. SRE were found in 76.7% of the patients. The most frequent SRE was radiotherapy (66.3%). Treatment with bisphosphonates was initiated in 19.8% of the patients. The 5-year specific survival was 60%, whereas the 10-year specific survival decreased to 50%. There were no differences in 5- or 10-year specific survival regarding gender, the occurrence of SRE, or histological type. However, patients with initial radioiodine non-avid lesions had a lower 5- and 10-year specific survival (p = 0.002). Discussion: The high frequency of patients with SRE was notable. The follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer was the variant most commonly associated with BM, reflecting a more similar behavior to follicular carcinoma than the classic variant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-101
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Thyroid Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bone
  • Metastases
  • Thyroid cancer


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