Thyroid gland
Papillary carcinoma
Oncocytic variant

Topic Completed: 1 March 2009

Revised: 26 April 2019

Copyright: 2003-2017,, Inc.

PubMed search: oncocytic papillary carcinoma thyroid

See also Warthin-like variant

Shahid Islam, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2018: 4,189
Page views in 2019 to date: 4,204
Cite this page: Islam S. Oncocytic variant. website. Accessed November 17th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Oncocytic (oxyphilic, Hürthle cell like) cytoplasm but nuclear features of papillary carcinoma
  • Up to 10% of papillary thyroid carcinomas
  • Asa suggests that is no logical basis to separate oncocytic lesions from other classifications of thyroid pathology (J Clin Pathol 2004;57:225)
  • 80% women, ages 34 - 86 years
Clinical features
Gross description
  • Mean 2 cm, mahogany brown
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Papillary structures at least focally, may be mixed with follicular growth pattern
  • Predominantly oncocytic cytoplasm but papillary nuclear features
  • May be encapsulated or invasive
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Contributed by Andrey Bychkov, M.D., Ph.D.:

Nuclear pseudoinclusions

Eosinophilic cyto-
plasm, nuclei,

Images hosted on other servers:

Complex papillary architecture with thin papillae

Tumor lacks papillae, but has classic nuclear features

Cells have prominent nuclear clearing

More subtle nuclear changes

Cytology description
  • Cellular smears with abundant colloid
  • Round / oval and overlapping nuclei with prominent intranuclear inclusions and grooves and indistinct nucleoli (Acta Cytol 2004;48:137)
Electron microscopy description
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
Back to top