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Fibrosing variant of Hashimoto thyroiditis is an IgG4 related disease
  1. Vikram Deshpande1,
  2. Amelia Huck1,
  3. Esther Ooi2,
  4. John H Stone3,
  5. William C Faquin1,
  6. G Petur Nielsen1
  1. 1Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
  3. 3Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vikram Deshpande, Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit Street/Warren 2, Boston, MA 02114, USA; vdeshpande{at}


Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT) and the fibrosing variant of Hashimoto thyroiditis (FVHT) are immune-mediated tumefactive lesions of the thyroid. Immunoglobulin G4-related disease (IgG4-RD) is now a widely recognised multi-organ system disease characterised by elevated serum and tissue concentrations of IgG4. In this study, the authors address several unresolved questions pertaining to the relationship between HT and FVHT, and the association of each of these diseases with IgG4-RD.

The authors evaluated 28 consecutive cases of HT and nine cases of FVHT. The clinical, demographic and serological data were recorded. The slides were stained immunohistochemically using antibodies to IgG4 and IgG and the quantitative analysis was recorded. Data on thyroid function tests were available on seven cases of FVHT and 14 cases of HT. Based on the availability of data, hypothyroidism was noted in 62% (9/14) of HT and 86% of FVHT (6/7). FVHT demonstrated an exaggerated lobular pattern with lobules separated by cellular storiform-type fibrosis, resembling fibrosis seen in other forms of IgG-RD. The median IgG4 counts per high power field (×40) in HT and FVHT were 2.3 and 22, respectively. The median IgG4:IgG ratios in HT and FVHT were 0.11 and 0.58, respectively. The authors propose that FVHT belongs to the spectrum of IgG4-RD. Although a proportion of cases of HT show elevated numbers of IgG4 positive plasma cells, these cases lack the histological features typically associated with IgG4-RD, and thus the relationship between HT and IgG4-RD remains unproven.

  • Neuroendocrine tumours
  • pancreas
  • autoimmunity
  • carcinoma
  • cytopathology
  • head and neck cancer
  • thyroid cancer

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  • Funding Esther Ooi is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by IRB MGH.

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