MediFind
Condition

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Condition 101

What is the definition of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the thyroid gland.

What are the alternative names for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid

What are the causes for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is an invasive type of thyroid cancer that grows very rapidly. It occurs most often in people over age 60. It is more common in females than in males. The cause is unknown.

Anaplastic cancer accounts for only about less than 1% of all thyroid cancers in the United States.

What are the symptoms for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

Symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness or changing voice
  • Loud breathing
  • Lower neck lump, which often grows quickly
  • Pain
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

What are the current treatments for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

This type of cancer cannot be cured by surgery. Complete removal of the thyroid gland does not prolong the lives of people who have this type of cancer.

Surgery combined with radiation therapy and chemotherapy may have a significant benefit.

Surgery to place a tube in the throat to help with breathing (tracheostomy) or in the stomach to help with eating (gastrostomy) may be needed during treatment.

For some people, enrolling in a clinical trial of new thyroid cancer treatments based on the genetic changes in the tumor may be an option.

What are the support groups for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group of people sharing common experiences and problems.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

The outlook with this disease is poor. Most people do not survive longer than 6 months because the disease is aggressive and there is a lack of effective treatment options.

What are the possible complications for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

Complications may include:

  • Spread of tumor within the neck
  • Metastasis (spread) of cancer to other body tissues or organs

When should I contact a medical professional for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer?

Call your health care provider if you notice:

  • A persistent lump or mass in the neck
  • Hoarseness or changes in your voice
  • Cough or coughing up blood

REFERENCES

Iyer PC, Dadu R, Ferrarotto R, et al. Real-world experience with targeted therapy for the treatment of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid. 2018; 28(1):79-87. PMID: 29161986 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29161986/.

Jonklaas J, Cooper DS. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 213.

National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research website. Anaplastic thyroid cancer. www.cancer.gov/pediatric-adult-rare-tumor/rare-tumors/rare-endocrine-tumor/anaplastic-thyroid-cancer. Updated February 27, 2019. Accessed February 1, 2020.

Smallridge RC, Ain KB, Asa SL, et al. American Thyroid Association guidelines for management of patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2012;22(11):1104-1139. PMID: 23130564 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23130564/.

Smith PW, Hanks LR, Salomone LJ, Hanks JB. Thyroid. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2017:chap 36.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Journal: Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Treatment Used: PD-1 Blockade
  • Number of Patients: 42
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using PD-1 blockade to treat patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Aggressive Thyroid Cancer
  • Journal: Surgical pathology clinics
  • Treatment Used: Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors, Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Inhibitors, and Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
This article discusses treatments for aggressive thyroid cancer.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
  • Journal: Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association
  • Treatment Used: Pembrolizumab with Chemoradiotherapy
  • Number of Patients: 3
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using pembrolizumab alongside chemoradiotherapy to treat patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (ATC)
  • Journal: Cancer
  • Treatment Used: Multimodal Therapy
  • Number of Patients: 104
  • Published —
This study reported he long-term outcomes of radiotherapy (RT) for patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC).