Show Summary Details
Page of

Thyroid cancer 

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer

Anthony P. Weetman



Novel agents for the treatment of thyroid cancer.

Updated on 30 Jul 2015. The previous version of this content can be found here.
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 29 April 2017

Thyroid cancers account for less than 1% of all malignancies but are much the most frequent cancers of endocrine organs.

Follicular epithelial cell cancer—the commonest type; may be induced by exposure to radiation; can be highly undifferentiated or differentiate into recognizable follicular cells, sometimes with retention of hormone biosynthesis; typically present with an asymptomatic thyroid nodule; usually diagnosed by fine needle aspiration biopsy; treatment is typically by total or near total thyroidectomy, with radio-iodine then administered to remove any remaining thyroid tissue (followed by long-term thyroid replacement therapy).

Medullary thyroid carcinoma—arises from parafollicular C cells; comprise 5 to 10% of all thyroid cancers; hereditary autosomal dominant forms associated with germ-line point mutations in the RET proto-oncogene occur as part of multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 2A or 2B, or as isolated familial medullary carcinoma; typically present with a solitary thyroid nodule, accompanied in 50% of cases by cervical lymphadenopathy; can be associated with unusual hormonal effects, including secretory diarrhoea; diagnosis often made by fine needle aspiration biopsy, also by finding raised serum calcitonin; treatment is by total thyroidectomy, followed by monitoring of serum calcitonin levels (and long-term thyroid replacement therapy); testing for the presence of RET mutations (see Chapter 13.10) allows family testing, with prophylactic thyroidectomy recommended for affected individuals.

Rare thyroid tumours—include (1) anaplastic carcinomas—present as a rapidly enlarging and fixed thyroid mass, sometimes with local pain; rapidly fatal; (2) sarcomas; and (3) primary lymphomas— usually present as a rapidly enlarging thyroid mass in a patient with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.