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Minerva Endocrinol. 2010 Mar;35(1):9-16.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Practical aspects of multimodal therapy and data emerging from a 40-year experience at a single Italian institution.

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Complex Unito f Nuclear Medicine, Ospedale di Circolo, Busto Arsizio, Varese, Italy.


Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a rare malignant neoplasia with high biological aggressiveness and rapid and lethal clinical course. In selected patients, an aggressive multimodal therapy could decrease illness progression both in the neck e in other sites. However, it is not clear if these combined treatments improve survival. In our institution, the Department of Nuclear Medicine has a 40-year experience in monitor and treatment of a group of 48 patient with ATC confirmation that clinical presentation could overlap pre-existent nodular goitre or rapid enlarging mass of recent onset. At onset, age do not change final poor prognosis and the survival seems most favorable in patients with a primary tumor size <6 cm. A better mean survival was noticed in those patients who respond to the multimodal therapy (8 months vs 4.6 months). Radioiodine (131 I) therapy is unnecessary due to the loss of NIS expression of the ATC cells. Therefore, after quick clinical and instrumental work up, our experience and the literature data suggest that the first line therapy is represented from external radiotherapy combined also with cisplatin or doxorubicin, followed by "curative" surgical procedure of the primary lesion in the neck and subsequent chemotherapy. For those patients who show distant metastasis at onset chemotherapy is the first line therapy followed by external radiotherapy and when possible subsequent surgical procedure.

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