Hurthle cell

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 9 Nov 2022

Hurthle cells are a type of oncocyte arising from thyroid follicular epithelial cells.

The term Hurthle cell is now officially discouraged as the cells discovered by Hurthle were actually parafollicular C cells 5.

Under microscopy, Hurthle cells are larger than typical follicular cells, with abundant mitochondria.

Cancers of Hurthle cell origin can be benign adenomas or malignant carcinomas and consist of at least 75% Hurthle cells. Previously considered a subtype of follicular thyroid cancer.

Other conditions in which Hurthle cells are found include: 

The Hurthle cell was first described by the German-Swiss pathologist Max Askanazy (1865-1940) in 1898, though the cell is named after Karl Hürthle (1860-1945) who was a German histologist who described parafollicular C cells 3,4.

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