Unresected Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Linked to Poor Overall Survival

HealthDay News — For patients with unresected anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, overall survival (OS) is poor, but radiation therapy (RT) dose is associated with improved survival, according to a study published in Cancer.

Todd A. Pezzi, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues examined the outcomes of patients with unresected anaplastic thyroid carcinoma who underwent no surgery or grossly incomplete resection. The authors assessed correlates of OS for 1288 patients.

The researchers found that the median OS was 2.27 months, and 11% of patients were alive at 1 year. There was a positive correlation for RT dose and survival for the entire study cohort, for those receiving systemic therapy, and for those with stage IVA, B, and C disease. 

Older age, 1 or more comorbidities, and distant metastases correlated with OS in multivariate analyses (hazard ratios [HRs]: 1.317, 1.587, and 1.385, respectively); there were also correlations for receipt of systemic therapy (HR: 0.637) and for receipt of RT vs no RT (<45 Gy, HR: 0.843; 45 to 59.9 Gy, HR: 0.596; and 60 to 75 Gy, HR:0.419). Propensity-score matching confirmed the RT dose-survival correlation for patients who received higher (60 to 75 Gy) vs lower (45 to 59.9 Gy) therapeutic doses.

“The association of RT dose with OS highlights the importance of identifying patients with unresected anaplastic thyroid carcinoma who may still yet benefit from multimodal locoregional treatment that incorporates higher dose RT,” the researchers wrote.

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  1. Pezzi TA, Mohamed ASR, Sheu T, et al. Radiation therapy dose is associated with improved survival for unresected anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: outcomes from the National Cancer Data Base [published online December 27, 2016]. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30493