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Endocrine Pathology Online

Pathology of Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma

 Dr Sampurna Roy MD                                                




Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, accounting for 5% to 15% of primary malignant

thyroid neoplasms, is one of the most aggressive solid tumours in humans.

Generally, it is rapidly fatal, with a mean survival of six months after diagnosis.

Multimodality treatment with surgery and/or external beam radiotherapy and

chemotherapy are of fundamental importance for local control of disease and to

enhance survival.

The differential diagnosis of thyroid anaplastic carcinoma includes lymphoma

(some cases were previously regarded as the "small cell  variant" of anaplastic

carcinoma), thyroiditis, metastases, and sarcomas.

Immunohistochemistry for cytokeratins is useful, but less so for thyroglobulin due

to non-specific uptake by some other lesions.

Anaplastic carcinomas are thought to arise by differentiation of follicular neoplasms

as evidenced by areas of poorly differentiated follicular carcinoma which may

sometimes be demonstrated by taking large numbers of blocks.

It is important to be aware of the poorly cellular variant and some extensively

necrotic and hence inflamed examples which may sometimes be mistaken for benign


Papillary Carcinoma originating in Hashimoto's Disease ; Thyroid Follicular Carcinoma ;

Thyroid Hurthle Cell (Oxyphil) Carcinoma ; Thyroid Medullary Carcinoma ;

Thyroid Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma ;

Further reading:

Anaplastic and poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma: therapeutic strategies and treatment outcome of 52 consecutive patients.

Thyroid anaplastic carcinoma: the impact of multimodality treatment on survival. The experience of a referral center for endocrine surgery.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: a 25-year single-institution experience.

Prognostic factors and treatment outcomes of 100 cases of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

Prognostic factors for Korean patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

Influence of risk grouping on therapeutic decisions in patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: a 25-year single-institution experience.

Prognostic factors and treatment outcomes for anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: ATC Research Consortium of Japan cohort study of 677 patients.

Age as a prognostic factor in anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Prognostic factors of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: a 50-year experience at a single institution.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: risk factors and outcome.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: current diagnosis and treatment.

[Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid in a young man. A report of a case].

Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid.



Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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