Brain metastases from differentiated thyroid carcinoma: Prevalence, current therapies, and outcomes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the Endocrine Society








brain metastases; DTC; prevalence; therapies; thyroid cancer


© 2019 Endocrine Society. Background and Objective: The brain is an unusual site for distant metastases of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC). The aim of this study was to document the prevalence of brain metastases from DTC at our institutions and to analyze the current therapies and the outcomes of these patients. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of patients with DTC and secondary neoplasia of the brain. Results: From 2002 to 2016, 9514 cases of thyroid cancer were evaluated across our institutions and 24 patients met our inclusion criteria, corresponding to a prevalence of 0.3% of patients with DTC. Fourteen (58.3%) were female and 10 (41.7%) weremale. Fifteen patients had papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) (62.5%). Brainmetastases were diagnosed 0 to 37 years (mean± SD, 10.6 ± 10.4 years) after the initial diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Patients undergoing surgery had a median survival time longer than those that did not undergo surgery (27.3 months vs 6.8 months; P = 0.15). Patients who underwent stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) had a median survival time longer than those that did not receive SRS (52.5 months vs 6.7 months; P = 0.11). Twelve patients (50%) were treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), and they had a better survival than those who have not used a TKI (median survival time, 27.2 months vs 4.7 months; P , 0.05). Conclusion: The prevalence of brain metastases of DTC in our institutions was 0.3% over 15 years. The median survival time after diagnosis of brain metastases was 19 months. In our study population, the use of TKI improved the survival rates.

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