Thyroid gland
Papillary carcinoma
Oncocytic variant

Author: Shahidul Islam, M.D., Ph.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 15 December 2016, last major update March 2009

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed search: oncocytic [title] "papillary carcinoma" thyroid

Cite this page: Oncocytic variant. website. Accessed January 21st, 2017.
Definition / General
  • See also Warthin-like variant
  • 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
Micro 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
Micro Images
Images hosted on PathOut server:

Courtesy of 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