Immunohistochemical and electron microscopy studies of a case of hyalinizing trabecular tumor of the thyroid gland, with special consideration of the hyalinizing mass associated with it


Hyalinizing trabecular tumor (HTT) of the thyroid gland is rare and benign, and it neither recurs nor metastasizes. In this lesion, tumor cells are arranged in trabeculae, in association with hyalinizing mass in the stroma. The origin and nature of the hyalinizing mass are still controversial. We report here a case of HTT with cytological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural findings, focused in particular on the hyalinizing mass. Cytologically, tumor cells exhibiting many intranuclear cytoplasmic inclusions and nuclear grooves were found in association with light green-positive, irregular, fluffy membranous structures on touch smear. Staining with antibody to collagen type IV was positive in these membranous structures. Histopathologically, tumor cells exhibited many intranuclear cytoplasmic inclusions, and were positive for staining with antibodies to S100 protein, neuron-specific enolase, thyroglobulin, and vimentin. The hyalinizing eosinophilic mass, which was positive for PAS reaction, and for staining by antibody to collagen type IV, gradually increased in the areas surrounding tumor cells. This mass then appeared to replace the tumor cells, and exhibited a peculiar filiform pattern. We demonstrated ultrastructurally that this pattern was composed of long, irregular, fine cytoplasmic processes of tumor cells and basal lamina-like substance in the hyalinizing mass. In fact, the homogeneous hyalinizing mass, similar to basal lamina-like substance, contained many degenerated cytoplasmic processes at the ultrastructural level. These results suggested that the key cytological finding in differentiating HTT from papillary carcinoma is the fluffy membranous structure, although nuclear pseudoinclusions are important as well. The filiform pattern noted at light microscopic level consisted of long cytoplasmic processes of tumor cells and hyalinized mass at the ultrastructural level.


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