Background: Thyroid carcinosarcoma is a rare and aggressive malignant thyroid tumor that has been described pathologically, but there is little clinical information regarding tumor behavior.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the course of our patient and 16 others reported in the literature to determine optimal management. We review the case history of our patient and the literature concerning patients with carcinosarcoma of the thyroid.
Results: Seventeen patients, 52 to 80 years of age (mean, 60 years), have had a thyroid carcinosarcoma of the thyroid. Five of seven patients for whom the information is available were treated by partial thyroidectomy and two by total thyroidectomy. Among these patients five (71%) died within the first 3 months and two (29%) survived more than 6 months. The mean survival was 5 months. At autopsy in seven patients, six had lymph node or distant metastases.
Conclusions: Carcinosarcoma of the thyroid is a very aggressive tumor with a clinical course similar to anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Like patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, few survive more than 6 months despite aggressive multimodal treatment. Our patient's exposure to raw phosphorus, radiation, and 1,3-bis-(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea may have predisposed her to this aggressive tumor.