Struma ovarii (SO) is usually asymptomatic and only in a few cases it is associated with thyrotoxicosis. The presurgical diagnosis is very uncommon. In the majority of cases a pelvic mass is discovered at physical examination or by abdominal ultrasound. Only the hystopathologic examination is able to reveal the characteristic features of SO, with thyroid cells organized in follicles as the main tumoral tissue constituent. The histologic recognition of malignancy is not easy and usually requires an exhaustive sampling of the lesion to evaluate the extracapsular invasion. We report the case of a 59-year-old woman who came to our observation for the fortuitous finding of elevated serum thyroglobulin (Tg) levels (600-800 ng/mL). Because the thyroid function was normal and the ultrasound showed only a subcentrimetric nodule, the clinical suspicious of a SO was considered. Ultrasound examination of the abdomen showed a solid mass of 2 cm in the left ovary. A (131)I uptake was observed at scintiscan in the site of the solid mass. Three months after the resection of the left ovary serum Tg levels were markedly reduced (106 ng/mL), and its values continued to decrease down to 34 ng/mL at last control. The histology showed that the ovarian mass was mainly constituted of thyroid tissue (98%), with no malignant features. The molecular analysis of several thyroid differentiation gene mRNAs in the SO tissue showed an abundant expression of all genes but pendrin (PDS). A reduced PDS mRNA expression might explain the defective thyroxine (T(4)) production. Despite the absence of malignant features, the expression of RET/PTC3 rearrangement was found, raising the possibility of a potential malignant nature of the tumor. A cancer-free period of 3-4 years, as in our patient, is not long enough to definitively exclude a late onset metastatic disease but, unfortunately, the patient died of nonmedical reasons. In conclusion, we report a case of SO that, to our knowledge, is the first in which the clinical suspicion arose from the inappropriately elevated presurgical serum levels of Tg. A quite exhaustive molecular analysis of thyroid specific genes and oncogenes provided two interesting findings: the low PDS mRNA expression, which may explain the low hormonal production and the absence of thyrotoxicosis and the presence of a RET/PTC3 rearrangement, which prompts the possibility of a late malignant evolution.

RET/PTC3 rearrangement and thyroid differentiation gene analysis in a struma ovarii fortuitously revealed by elevated serum thyroglobulin concentration

LISI, SIMONETTA;
2005

Abstract

Struma ovarii (SO) is usually asymptomatic and only in a few cases it is associated with thyrotoxicosis. The presurgical diagnosis is very uncommon. In the majority of cases a pelvic mass is discovered at physical examination or by abdominal ultrasound. Only the hystopathologic examination is able to reveal the characteristic features of SO, with thyroid cells organized in follicles as the main tumoral tissue constituent. The histologic recognition of malignancy is not easy and usually requires an exhaustive sampling of the lesion to evaluate the extracapsular invasion. We report the case of a 59-year-old woman who came to our observation for the fortuitous finding of elevated serum thyroglobulin (Tg) levels (600-800 ng/mL). Because the thyroid function was normal and the ultrasound showed only a subcentrimetric nodule, the clinical suspicious of a SO was considered. Ultrasound examination of the abdomen showed a solid mass of 2 cm in the left ovary. A (131)I uptake was observed at scintiscan in the site of the solid mass. Three months after the resection of the left ovary serum Tg levels were markedly reduced (106 ng/mL), and its values continued to decrease down to 34 ng/mL at last control. The histology showed that the ovarian mass was mainly constituted of thyroid tissue (98%), with no malignant features. The molecular analysis of several thyroid differentiation gene mRNAs in the SO tissue showed an abundant expression of all genes but pendrin (PDS). A reduced PDS mRNA expression might explain the defective thyroxine (T(4)) production. Despite the absence of malignant features, the expression of RET/PTC3 rearrangement was found, raising the possibility of a potential malignant nature of the tumor. A cancer-free period of 3-4 years, as in our patient, is not long enough to definitively exclude a late onset metastatic disease but, unfortunately, the patient died of nonmedical reasons. In conclusion, we report a case of SO that, to our knowledge, is the first in which the clinical suspicion arose from the inappropriately elevated presurgical serum levels of Tg. A quite exhaustive molecular analysis of thyroid specific genes and oncogenes provided two interesting findings: the low PDS mRNA expression, which may explain the low hormonal production and the absence of thyrotoxicosis and the presence of a RET/PTC3 rearrangement, which prompts the possibility of a late malignant evolution.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11384/13682
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