Clinical characteristics and disease outcome of patients with non-medullary thyroid cancer and brain metastases

Ilana Slutzky-Shraga, Alex Gorshtein, Aharon Popovitzer, Eyal Robenshtok, Gloria Tsvetov, Amit Akirov, Dania Hirsch, Carlos Benbassat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain metastases from non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (NMTC) are rare, with a reported frequency of ~1%, and patient survival time is <1 year after diagnosis. The optimal management of brain metastases in this setting continues to be debated. The aim of the present study was to evaluate a series of patients with brain metastases from NMTC attending a single tertiary medical center. The electronic database of Rabin Medical Center was reviewed for all patients with NMTC and distant metastases who were diagnosed and treated between 1970 and 2014. Those with brain metastases were identified and formed the study group. Data were collected from medical records comprising clinicopathological characteristics, time intervals for diagnosis and treatment, treatment modalities and outcome. Of the 172 patients with NMTC and distant metastases, 10 possessed brain metastases. These included 6 females and 4 males of median age 53.5 years (range, 18-81 years). All patients had lung metastases and 7 demonstrated bone metastases. The median interval between the diagnoses of NMTC and brain metastases was 40 months (range, 9-207 months). Of the 10 patients, 1 presented with brain metastases at primary diagnosis. Treatment of the brain metastases consisted of surgery, radiotherapy (external beam, stereotactic), and radioiodine, alone or in combination. A total of 2 patients received tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The median overall survival time from diagnosis of brain metastasis was 15 months. A total of 2 patients remained alive at the last follow-up (32 and 300 months, respectively). The present study demonstrated that brain metastases may occur in ≤6% of patients with NMTC and distant metastases. Brain metastases rarely present at diagnosis of NMTC and are associated with metastases in other distant sites. Systematic screening for brain metastases requires consideration in all patients with NMTC and distant metastases. Some patients show an indolent evolution with overall survival of >2 years, supporting an aggressive treatment approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-676
Number of pages5
JournalOncology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Brain metastases
  • Disease outcome
  • Distant metastases
  • Non-medullary
  • Thyroid cancer


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