Axillary lymph nodes metastasis in a patient with recurrent papillary thyroid cancer: a case report

Mohamed T Hafez, Basel Refky, Khaled Abd Elwahab, Mohammad Arafa, Islam Abdou, Waleed Elnahas

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13 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy; the most common type of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer which accounts for approximately 90% of all thyroid cancers. Previously defined prognostic factors of papillary thyroid cancer include age, gender, tumor size, extrathyroidal extension, and distant metastasis. Cervical lymph node metastases are very common in patients with papillary thyroid cancer. Although papillary thyroid cancer has an excellent prognosis, lymphatic spread is associated with an increased risk of locoregional recurrence. Axillary metastasis is not a common finding in the classic type of papillary carcinoma; hence, a limited number of case reports have described the exceptional and rare metastatic spread of papillary thyroid carcinomas to the axilla.

CASE PRESENTATION: We report a case of metastatic axillary lymphadenopathy in a 61-year-old Egyptian man with a recurrent papillary thyroid cancer. He had a history of total thyroidectomy with right radical neck dissection 18 months ago. He presented to our cancer clinic at the Oncology Centre -Mansoura University with recurrent mass at the right lower parotid region, left cervical lymphadenopathy and left axillary lymphadenopathy. Removal of the recurrent right intraparotid mass, left comprehensive neck dissection and left axillary dissection were performed and the postoperative pathology report showed infiltration of the cervical and axillary lymph nodes by metastatic papillary thyroid cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: Axillary lymph node enlargement in a patient with papillary thyroid cancer should be considered metastatic from thyroid until proved otherwise. Careful thorough examination of patients with recurrent thyroid cancer is essential to address any unusual metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number181
Pages (from-to)181
JournalJournal of Medical Case Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 26 2015


  • Axilla
  • Carcinoma/complications
  • Carcinoma, Papillary
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes/diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/complications
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary
  • Thyroid Neoplasms/complications
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

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