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01.03.2012 | Ausgabe 3/2012

World Journal of Surgery 3/2012

Fungating Thyroid Cancer: A Complex Clinical Scenario

World Journal of Surgery > Ausgabe 3/2012
A. S. Nabawi, H. F. Al Wagih, M. A. Hemeida, T. Y. Koraitim, M. Moussa, Tarek Ezzat



Most research reporting the management of advanced thyroid cancer focuses on major aerodigestive system or vessel involvement. In the present study, we investigated patients with locally advanced thyroid cancers who presented with malignant skin infiltration. The term fungating thyroid cancer (fTC) has been used to describe such a condition.


The study was based on prospective collection of clinical, laboratory, imaging, and pathological data of all patients admitted to the head and neck and endocrine surgery unit, Main University Hospital, Alexandria School of Medicine, during the period April 2005–March 2011.


Eleven patients were referred with fTC, eight of whom had undergone subtotal thyroidectomy for an undiagnosed well-differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) in another institution. The final pathological diagnosis showed (DTC, n = 3), poorly differentiated thyroid cancer (n = 5), anaplastic cancer (n = 2), and medullary thyroid cancer (n = 1). Extensive resections and reconstruction using flaps (pectoralis major, n = 6; deltopectoral, n = 1; sternocleidomastoid, n = 1) were undertaken. Complete tumor clearance (R0) was achieved in one patient and the others had microscopic (R1, n = 6) or macroscopic (R2, n = 1) residual disease. The three patients who did not undergo operation died within one month of presentation. The latest review of the eight patients who did undergo operation ranged from 3 to 6 months, but their survival remains unknown as access for follow-up was limited.

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