The effect of surgery and radiotherapy on outcome of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma


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Abstract

Background:Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is an aggressive rare tumor. We analyzed our experience for prognosis and the effect of surgery and radiotherapy on patients with ATC.Methods:We conducted a retrospective review of all patients (n=67) with ATC treated at a tertiary care center from 1969 to 1999. Survivor median follow-up was 51 months. Tumor and patient characteristics and therapy were assessed for effect on survival by multivariate analysis.Results:Patients presented with a neck mass (99%), change of voice (51%), dysphagia (33%), and dyspnea (28%). Surgery was performed in 44 of 67 patients, with 12 complete resections. The 6-month and 1- and 3-year survival rates were 92%, 92%, and 83% after complete resection; 53%, 35%, and 0% after debulking; and 22%, 4%, and 0% after no resection, respectively (P<.0001). A radiation dose of >45 Gy improved survival as compared with a lower dose (P=.02). Multivariate analysis showed that age ≤70 years, absence of dyspnea or dysphagia at presentation, a tumor size ≤5 cm, and any surgical resection improved survival (P<.05).Conclusions:Candidates for surgery with curative intent for ATC are patients ≤70 years, tumors ≤5 cm, and no distant disease. Radiotherapy >45 Gy improves outcome.

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