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Poorly differentiated mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid
  1. Kristina Lee1,
  2. Omar Mirza2,
  3. Sian Dobbs1 and
  4. Sharan Jayaram2
  1. 1ENT, Fairfield General Hospital, Bury, UK
  2. 2ENT, North Manchester General Hospital, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Kristina Lee; klee{at}


Mucoepidermoid carcinomas (MECs) are the most common malignant tumour of the salivary glands. MECs have also been reported to occur in atypical sites. Primary MECs of the thyroid gland are extremely rare, accounting for 0.5% of thyroid malignancies with approximately 48 cases reported in the literature. In most cases, these are low-grade neoplasms with good long-term prognosis. We present the case of a 74-year-old patient with poorly differentiated MEC of the thyroid gland, which behaved aggressively resulting in rapid decline and death of the patient. The exact pathophysiology of the disease remains unclear and there is no consensus on the optimal treatment for this histological subtype. Recognition and diagnosis of this rare neoplasm are important as this can help guide optimal treatment, although in high-grade poorly differentiated cases, treatment options remain limited.

  • ear
  • nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • head and neck cancer

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  • Contributors KL and SD collected patient and clinical information relating to the case. KL took the lead in writing the manuscript with contribution from SD. OM and SJ supervised the writing. SD, OM and SJ helped with the final revision of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.