Important- In Anaplastic thyroid, there is a growing literature about the genes that may be abnormal and we have been involved in some of the ground breaking research in this area. If the anaplastic thyroid cancer has spread to distant sites in the body (distant metastases), genetic analysis is likely indicated to get a sense of what genetic events have occurred in the development of your anaplastic thyroid cancer. This may give your anaplastic thyroid cancer team some potential targets to consider in establishing a personalized treatment approach for your anaplastic thyroid cancer.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer genetics is some really technical and complicated stuff that is beginning to be understood in this particular disease. Particularly, some mutations found in the genes of anaplastic thyroid cancer patient's tumors are rarely found in the other more favorable types of papillary, follicular and hurthle cell cancers. The analysis of these genetic events may provide direction to your anaplastic thyroid cancer team in establishing a thoughtful approach to treating your disease. It is not providing you a chance of cure at this time, but it is light years ahead of where we were even some five years ago in managing anaplastic thyroid cancer patients.

Anaplastic thyroid cancers are rarely hereditary. In fact, I do not believe I have ever seen any anaplastic thyroid cancer patient with a history of a direct relative with a anaplastic thyroid cancer. So you should generally not be concerned about the risk to your children. If you have a concern, then please discuss this with your doctor.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer: What is Known About Their Associated Genetic Mutations?

Anaplastic thyroid cancer genetic abnormalities are rapidly becoming well identified following the human genome project and the cancer genome project.

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer and its variants more commonly reveal RAS mutations or PAX8/PPAR gamma rearrangements. But importantly, these mutations can be found in benign hurthle cell tumors as well.
  • Aggressive anaplastic thyroid cancer variants are potentially suggested by mutations of multiple genes and combinations of genes. These include the p53, PI3kinase, Braf, Pten, TERT, RAS genes and many more. We have been involved in some of this ground breaking research. One thing we do know is that the number and variability of mutation events in the genes of anaplastic thyroid cancer occur much more frequently and variable than the more favorable papillary and follicular (as well as all other) thyroid cancers. To date, identifying these mutations does not translate to any specific treatment approaches with the exception of the Braf gene.