Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid - clinicomorphological spectrum and review of literature

A Ghosh, N Nepal, MD Gharti, S Basnet, M Baxi, OP Talwar


Background: Thyroid cancer is fairly common. The worldwide annual incidence ranges from 0.5 to 10 cases per 100,000 people. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, comprising less than 10% of all thyroid carcinomas, remains one of the most virulent of all cancers in humans with a 10 year survival rate of only 0.1 %. In the present study we looked into the clinical, cytological and histological spectrum of anaplastic carcinoma and compared our experience with recent literature.

Materials and Methods: This was a hospital based retrospective study from January 2000 to November 2010. Clinical, cytological and histopathological data of all the diagnosed anaplastic thyroid carcinoma cases were reviewed and analyzed.

Results: Of the 59 thyroid malignancies diagnosed in the same period, 7 cases were anaplastic carcinoma. The mean age was 63 years and was predominantly found in females. All of the cases presented with a neck mass that lasted for a mean of 5.7 months. The mean tumor size was 14.9 cm and the most common sub-type was the spindle cell type. Atypical mitosis of more than 5 per high power field and necrosis was noted in all cases.

Conclusion: Due to the markedly aggressive nature of this tumor and its association with areas of endemic thyroid disease, early diagnosis and aggressive therapy is essential, especially in the Himalayan and Sub-Himalayan belt.

Keywords: Anaplastic carcinoma; Thyroid carcinoma; Spindle cell variant

DOI: 10.3126/jpn.v1i1.4451

Journal of Pathology of Nepal (2011) Vol.1, 45-48


Anaplastic carcinoma; Thyroid carcinoma; Spindle cell variant

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