Clinicopathologic Features of Mismatch Repair-Deficient Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinomas

Kristine S. Wong, Jochen H. Lorch, Erik K. Alexander, Matthew A. Nehs, Jonathan A. Nowak, Jason L. Hornick, Justine A. Barletta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Prior studies have reported mutations in mismatch repair (MMR) genes in a small subset of anaplastic thyroid carcinomas (ATC). The aim of this study was to identify MMR-protein-deficient (MMR-D) ATC and investigate their histopathologic features and clinical outcome. Methods: A cohort of 28 ATC diagnosed between 2003 and 2017 with tissue blocks available were evaluated. Immunohistochemistry for MMR proteins was performed to identify MMR-D tumors. Clinicopathologic features, molecular findings (determined by a targeted next-generation sequencing assay), and clinical outcome data for MMR-D tumors were recorded and compared to that of MMR-protein-intact (MMR-I) tumors. Results: There were four (14%) MMR-D ATC, all of which showed complete loss of MSH2 and MSH6 with intact expression of MLH1 and PMS2. Three of these tumors had MSH2 mutations and a hypermutated phenotype by next-generation sequencing. All four patients (two male; Mage at diagnosis = 64 years) presented with stage IVB disease (i.e., gross extrathyroidal extension or a lymph node metastasis at presentation). There were no differences in tumor size or rates of gross extrathyroidal extension, lymph node metastases, or positive resection margins between MMR-D and MMR-I ATC. Patients with MMR-D tumors were less likely to have distant metastatic disease at presentation (p = 0.035), although half did eventually develop distant metastases. MMR-D tumors were not histologically distinct. All four patients with MMR-D tumors lived for more than one year. One patient died of disease at 15 months, while the remaining three were alive at last follow-up, with survival of 19, 38, and 48 months. Patients with MMR-D ATC had significantly better survival compared to those with MMR-I tumors (p = 0.033), which was maintained when considering only patients with stage IVB disease at presentation (p = 0.030). Conclusion: MMR-D tumors comprised 14% of this ATC cohort. Although the findings must be interpreted with caution given the small number of MMR-D ATC in the cohort, the results suggest that MMR status may be prognostically significant in ATC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)666-673
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma
  • mismatch repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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