Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma

Last revised by Jeremy Jones on 20 Sep 2021

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a highly aggressive form of thyroid cancer and accounts for ~1-2% of primary thyroid malignancies. Of all the subtypes, this carries the worst prognosis.

Typically occurs in the elderly with the peak incidence in the 6th and 7th decades. A significant proportion of patients may have a history of concurrent multinodular goiter. There is a recognized female predilection 6.

Patients tend to present late. Compressive symptoms of neighboring structures are common.

May show microcalcification 3. Usually seen as an infiltrative lesion.

CT is useful for assessment of extrathyroidal tumor invasion 1 as well as regional lymph node and distant metastatic involvement, which are commonly found at the time of CT assessment 5.

The primary tumor typically appears as a highly infiltrative mass about the thyroid gland.

  • radioiodine: usually has no uptake 4.

The prognosis is very poor, with 5-year survival ~5% and considered invariably fatal 6. These tumors are automatically considered stage IV disease by the TNM staging system.

Consider other infiltrative thyroid neoplasms, such as:

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