One of the characteristic features of papillary thyroid carcinoma is the presence of psammoma bodies. These are calcifications with an unusual (and pretty) lamellar pattern. You can see psammoma bodies in any carcinoma with a papillary pattern (so just because you see them, that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily dealing with a papillary thyroidÂ carcinoma). But if you are looking at a thyroid carcinoma and trying to figure out which kind it is (papillary, follicular, medullary or anaplastic thyroid carcinoma), seeing psammoma bodies would be very helpful. Since psammoma bodies are not seen in any other type of thyroid carcinoma, you would immediately think of papillary thyroid carcinoma.
Apr 14, 2009
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You can see psammoma bodies in any papillary structure, they don’t even mean it’s neoplastic (I’m thinking of reactive mesothelial hyperplasia, for example).
I recently discovered this blog and I love it, go on!
Clear and helpful!
v nice. But one more question.
How to differentiate between a keratin pearl and a psammoma body? both look whorled.
Thanks a lot.
Both do have a whorled appearance, that’s true. A psammoma body has actual calcium in it, which stains blue and looks crunchy. A keratin pearl just has keratin in it, which stains pink and often looks just like the keratin on top of keratinized epithelium.
Are psammoma bodies due to dystrophic calcification or metastatic calcification?
Psammoma bodies are thought by some to represent dystrophic calcification; however, they may be more of an active biological process – see this article for an interesting discussion on the topic.
Thanks, Kristine, for your two added explanations, esp. the first one — wondered about that in med school!
I really love this site.It has been very helpful to me.Thank you all.
Where exactly can you find psammoma bodies and keratin pearls on pupillary thyroid carcinoma or any other carcinomas.Thank you.
Good question! You can really see them anywhere in the tumor – they don’t have a specific location. You can scan at low power to look for them – and then when you see something that resembles a psammoma body or a keratin pearl, look on a little higher power to verify 🙂
Thank you very much for the quick and short response Kristine!Actually this site is active and lively.I appreciate.