Outcomes in patients with poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma

T. Ibrahimpasic, R. Ghossein, D. L. Carlson, I. Nixon, F. L. Palmer, A. R. Shaha, S. G. Patel, R. M. Tuttle, J. P. Shah, I. Ganly*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Poorly differentiated thyroid cancer (PDTC) accounts for only 1-15% of all thyroid cancers. Our objective is to report outcomes in a large series of patients with PDTC treated at a single tertiary care cancer center. Methods: A total of 91 patients with primary PDTC were treated by initial surgery with or without adjuvant therapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from 1986 to 2009. Outcomes were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Clinicopathological characteristics were compared for PDTC patients who died of disease to those who did not by the 2 test. Factors predictive of disease-specific survival (DSS) were calculated by univariate and multivariate analysis using the log rank and Cox proportional hazards method, respectively. Results: With a median follow-up of 50 months, the 5-year overall survival and DSS were 62 and 66%, respectively. The 5-year locoregional and distant control were 81 and 59%, respectively. Of 27 disease-specific deaths, 23 (85%) were due to distant disease. Age - 45 years, pathological tumor size 4 cm, extrathyroidal extension, higher pathological T stage, positive margins, and distant metastases (M1) were predictive of worse DSS on univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis showed that only pT4a stage and M1 were independent predictors of worse DSS. Conclusions: With appropriate surgery and adjuvant therapy, excellent locoregional control can be achieved in PDTC. Disease-specific deaths occurred due to distant metastases and rarely due to uncontrolled locoregional recurrence in this series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1252
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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