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Thyroid. 1998 Aug;8(8):715-26.

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: behavior, biology, and therapeutic approaches.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Thyroid Clinic, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lexington, USA.


Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC), although exceedingly rare, is the most aggressive solid tumor known. Early studies on the effects of different therapies may be biased by the inclusion of responsive "small cell" ATC patients, which are now known to be mostly lymphoma patients. Local control of disease with surgery and/or external beam radiotherapy (XRT) is of fundamental importance to enhance survival. Ultimately, nearly all ATC patients die from their disease, which is widely metastatic. Development of effective systemic chemotherapy agents would provide the best chance for long-term survival of patients. Early preliminary data suggest that paclitaxel may be helpful, although no agent has yet been identified to result in dramatic improvements in survival. Select patients may benefit from aggressive multimodal therapy, although it is important to provide appropriate palliative care when desired.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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