Malignant Struma Ovarii with Concurrent Thyroid Cancer: Outcomes during and after Pregnancy

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Introduction: Struma ovarii (SO) is a rare ovarian teratoma characterized by the presence of thyroid tissue in more than 50% of the tumor. Malignant transformation is rare and the most common associated malignancy is papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC). Pregnancy may represent a stimulus to differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) growth in patients with known structural or biochemical evidence of disease, but data about malignant SO evolution during pregnancy are rare. We present the first reported case of a pregnant patient with malignant SO and biochemical evidence of disease. Case Presentation: A previously healthy 35-year-old female diagnosed with a suspicious left pelvic mass on routine ultrasound was submitted to laparoscopic oophorectomy which revealed a malignant SO with areas of PTC. A 15-mm thyroid nodule (Bethesda V in the fine-needle aspiration cytology) was detected by palpation and total thyroidectomy was performed. Histology revealed a 15 mm follicular variant of PTC (T1bNxMx). Subsequently, she received 100 mCi of radioactive iodine therapy (RAIT) with the whole-body scan showing only moderate neck uptake. Her suppressed thyroglobulin (Tg) before RAI was 1.1 ng/mL. She maintained biochemical evidence of disease, with serum Tg levels of 7.6 ng/mL. She got pregnant 14 months after RAIT, and during pregnancy, Tg increased to 21.5 ng/mL. After delivery,Tg decreased to 14 ng/mL but, 6 months later, rose again and reached 31.9 ng/mL on the last follow-up visit. TSH was always suppressed during follow-up. At the time of SO diagnosis, a chest computedtomography scan showed 4 bilateral lung micronodules in the upper lobes which were nonspecific, and9 months after diagnosis, a pelvic MRI revealed a suspicious cystic nodule located on the oophorectomy bed. These lung and pelvic nodules remained stable during follow-up. Neck ultrasonography, abdominal MRI, and fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography showed no suspicious lesions. Discussion/Conclusion: As for DTC, pregnancy seems to represent a stimulus to malignant SO growth. This can be caused by the high levels of estrogen during pregnancy that may bind to receptors in malignant cells and/or by the high levels of hCG which is known to stimulate TSH receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523 - 527
JournalEuropean Thyroid Journal
Issue number6
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Pregnancy
  • Struma ovarii
  • Thyroid cancer


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