Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma: Current Issues in Genomics and Therapeutics

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is a type of thyroid carcinoma with the most aggressive biological behaviour amongst thyroid cancer. Here, we review the current genomic and the impacts of advances in therapies to improve the management of patients with the cancer.

Recent Findings

Common mutations being identified in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma are p53 and TERT promoter mutations. Other common mutated genes included BRAF, RAS, EIF1AX, PIK3CA, PTEN and AKT1, SWI/SNF, ALK and CDKN2A. Changes in expression of different microRNAs are also involved in the pathogenesis of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Curative resection combined with radiotherapy and combination chemotherapies (such as anthracyclines, platins and taxanes) has been shown to have effects in the treatment of some patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Newer molecular targeted therapies in clinical trials target mostly the cell membrane kinase and downstream proteins. These include targeting the EGFR, FGFR, VEGFR, c-kit, PDGFR and RET on the cell membrane as well as VEGF itself and the downstream targets such as BRAF, MEK and mTOR. Immunotherapy is also being tested in the cancer.

Summary

Updated knowledge of genomic as well as clinical trials on novel therapies is needed to improve the management of the patients with this aggressive cancer.

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Fig. 1

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Abe, I., Lam, A.Ky. Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma: Current Issues in Genomics and Therapeutics. Curr Oncol Rep 23, 31 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11912-021-01019-9

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Keywords

  • Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma
  • Treatment
  • Genomics
  • BRAF
  • TERT