Background: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is rare but one of the most aggressive human cancers. It carries a dismal prognosis with average survival of 6 months. It is characteristically diagnosed in patients older than 60 years. We report the case of a young patient with ATC, in whom disease-free survival exceeds 2 years, and review the related literature. Summary: A 26-year-old woman presented with a rapidly growing anterior neck mass. A neck computed tomography scan showed a 3.5-cm left thyroid mass extending into the lateral neck. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy showed a malignant tumor. A subsequent core biopsy showed an undifferentiated epithelial carcinoma. A total thyroidectomy and left modified radical neck dissection were performed. Histopathology and immunohistochemical analysis confirmed an ATC. Postoperatively, the patient received radiation with concurrent chemotherapy. Serial follow-up imaging studies showed no evidence of residual or recurrent disease or metastases, and patient remains alive, free of disease, over 2 years. Conclusion: ATC is usually a disease of the elderly but should be considered in the differential diagnosis of any patient who presents with a rapidly enlarging anterior neck mass. A rapid and thorough investigation should be initiated. This unusual case highlights that this aggressive thyroid cancer may occur in the young. It also emphasizes the role of aggressive surgery, if resectable.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism