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Multi-targeted approach in the treatment of thyroid cancer

Authors Scott N Pinchot, Rebecca S Sippel, Herbert Chen

Published 10 October 2008 Volume 2008:4(5) Pages 935—947


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Scott N Pinchot, Rebecca S Sippel, Herbert Chen1

1Endocrine Surgery Research Laboratories, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Abstract: While accounting for only 1% of solid organ malignancies (9% in women), thyroid carcinoma is the most common malignancy of the endocrine system. Although most patients have a favorable prognosis, over 1,500 people will die from thyroid carcinoma each year. The spectrum of disease types range from papillary thyroid cancer, which is a well-differentiated indolent tumor, to anaplastic carcinoma, a poorly differentiated fulminant cancer. With advances in diagnostic methods, surgical techniques, and clinical care of patients with thyroid carcinoma, the current management of thyroid cancer demands a multidisciplinary approach. The majority of patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma of follicular cell origin are cured with adequate surgical management; however, some thyroid malignancies such as medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or poorly differentiated thyroid carcinomas frequently metastasize, precluding patients from a curative resection. As such, novel palliative and therapeutic strategies are needed for this patient population. Here, we explore the current management of thyroid carcinoma, including surgical management of the primary tumor, lymph node disease, and locoregional recurrence. Likewise, we explore the application of current molecular techniques, reviewing nearly two decades of data that have begun to elucidate critical genetic pathways and therapeutic drug targets which may be important in specific thyroid tumor types.

Keywords: thyroid carcinoma; vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR); epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); RET tyrosine kinase (RTK); glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β)

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