Medullary differentiation of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma

Am J Clin Pathol. 1982 May;77(5):541-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/77.5.541.


Fourteen cases of anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid (ACT) were studied with silver staining and immunohistochemical technics for signs of medullary differentiation. For comparison a series of 11 cases of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (MCT) was studied. In nine out of 14 cases of ACT both argyrophilia and immunoreactive calcitonin could be detected as evidence of an apparent C-cel origin of these tumors. Most of the patients with these anaplastic medullary carcinomas died within 6 months after the histological diagnosis was made. It is concluded that the histological diagnosis of anaplastic variants of MCT can only be made on the basis of argyrophilic cytoplasmic granules and calcitonin immunoreactivity. In contrast to well differentiated MCT the anaplastic medullary carcinoma is characterized by a poor prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / analysis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcitonin / analysis
  • Calcitonin / blood
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / analysis
  • Carcinoma / analysis
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Silver
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Thyroglobulin / analysis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / analysis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Silver
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Calcitonin
  • Thyroglobulin