BACKGROUND: Sarcoid lesions may mimic metastatic disease or recurrence in thyroid cancer (TC) patients as both diseases may affect the lungs and lymph nodes. We present the first study to systematically evaluate the clinical course of patients with (TC) after adjuvant radioactive iodine therapy (RIT) and concomitant sarcoidosis of the lung or the lymph nodes. METHODS: We screened 3285 patients and retrospectively identified 16 patients with TC (11 papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), 3 follicular thyroid cancer (FTC), 1 oncocytic PTC, 1 oncocytic FTC) and coexisting sarcoidosis of the lung and/or the lymph nodes treated at our institute. All patients had undergone thyroidectomy and initial adjuvant RIT. Challenges in diagnosing and the management of these patients were evaluated during long term follow-up (median 4.9 years (0.8-15.0 years)). RESULTS: Median age at first diagnosis of TC was 50.1 years (33.0-71.5 years) and of sarcoidosis 39.4 years (18.0-63.9 years). During follow-up, physicians were able to differentiate between SA and persistent or recurrent TC in 10 of 16 patients (63%). Diagnosis was complicated by initial negative thyroglobulin (Tg), positive Tg antibodies and non-specific imaging findings. Histopathology can reliably distinguish between SA and TC in patients with one suspicious lesion. CONCLUSION: Physicians should be aware of the rare coexistence of sarcoidosis and TC. Lymphadenopathy and pulmonary lesions could be metastases, sarcoidosis or even a mix of both. Therefore, this rare patient group should receive a thorough work up including histopathological clarification and, if necessary, separately for each lesion.