December 10, 2023


In pathology, the term anaplastic is used to describe very abnormal-looking malignant (cancerous) cells. While most cancer cells share some features (shape or size) with normal cells, anaplastic cells do not look anything like normal cells. Because these cancer cells look nothing like normal cells, pathologists will often perform additional tests such as immunohistochemistry to determine where the cancer started. Unfortunately, cancers with these cells tend to be very aggressive and are often associated with poor prognosis. Some types of cancer are made up almost entirely of these highly abnormal cells. Examples include anaplastic thyroid carcinoma and ALK-positive anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

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