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Yale J Biol Med. 1982 Sep-Dec;55(5-6):521-8.

Anaplastic carcinoma following well-differentiated thyroid cancer: etiological considerations.


Most cases of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma can be pathologically and often historically associated with the presence of low-grade (differentiated) cancer in the thyroid. That radiation therapy to the differentiated tumor plays an etiologic role in the transformation of a differentiated to an undifferentiated tumor has been suggested. If such therapy can be implicated, is there a difference in risk between external radiotherapy or radioactive iodine? Review of the literature discloses that more anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid develop in patients without a history of prior radiation than in individuals who have received radiation. We report our recent experience with two patients who demonstrated the sequence of well-differentiated followed by anaplastic thyroid cancer subsequent to radiation and review the question.

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