Thyroid Ultrasound > Top 10 Pathology > 6. Anaplastic


Anaplastic Carcinoma

Anaplastic carcinoma is rare (<1% of all thyroid masses) but extremely aggressive. Patients are usually elderly with a history of goiter and present with a rapidly growing neck mass. The tumor invades locally and distant metastases most commonly involve the lungs, bones, brain, and liver. Mean survival is 6 months, with 5-year survival rate of 7%.

On sonography, anaplastic carcinomas are generally large, at least 5 to 10 cm, fixed, hard, and heterogeneous in appearance. Internal calcifications and cystic or necrotic areas may be seen. Adjacent enlarged lymph nodes are common. Invasion of adjacent structures, such as the carotid sheath, trachea, and muscles,and the overall extent of tumor are often better assessed on CT or MR imaging.



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