We describe the first published case of papillary thyroid carcinoma metastatic to the temporal bone.
A 64-year-old woman presented with a large left temporal bone mass centred in the jugular foramen, initially thought to be a paraganglioma or schwannoma. She was simultaneously being investigated for a left-sided thyroid nodule, which was found to be unremarkable on repeated fine needle aspiration cytology. A biopsy of the temporal bone mass indicated that it was of thyroid origin. The patient underwent total thyroidectomy, which enabled a final diagnosis of follicular-variant papillary thyroid carcinoma with metastasis to the temporal bone.
Although biopsy is not the usual management for many types of temporal bone mass, pathological investigation is recommended if the tumour has an atypical growth rate, location, spread and/or radiological features. Metastasis of papillary thyroid carcinoma to the skull base is extremely rare, and correct diagnosis is essential in order to pursue an effective treatment plan.