Radiation Therapy For Medullary Thyroid Cancer!

Medullary Thyroid CancerHere some information you have been looking for on the medullary thyroid cancer.

First of all let’s know some facts about thyroid cancer itself and later about the types of this diease.

You must know this! In the United States, thyroid cancer represents approximately 1% of malignancies occurring, accounting for an estimated 33,550 cancer diagnoses and 1,530 cancer deaths per year. Of these cancers, 2% to 3% are medullary thyroid cancer.

For medullary thyroid cancer the average survival is lower than that for more common thyroid cancers. The survival is 83% for medullary thyroid cancer and 90% to 94% 5-year survival for papillary and follicular thyroid cancer.

Decreased survival in medullary thyroid cancer can be accounted by a high proportion of late-stage diagnosis and is correlated with stage at diagnosis.

Characteristics of Medullary Thyroid Cancer

  • Usually originates in the upper central lobe of the thyroid
  • Poor prognostic factors include age >50, male, distant spread (metastases), and when seen in patients with other endocrine tumors due to MEN II-B syndrome.
  • Spread to distant organs (metastasis) occurs late and can be to the liver, bone, brain, and adrenal medulla
  • Not associated with radiation exposure
  • Residual disease (following surgery) or recurrence can be detected by measuring calcitonin (a hormone that should be measured every 4 months for the first few years and then every 6 months for ever).
  • Occurs in 4 clinical settings (see below), can be associated with other endocrine tumors
  • Females more common than males (except for inherited cancers)
  • Regional metastases (spread to neck lymph nodes) occurs early in the disease

There are 4 types of Medullary Thyroid Cancer as mentioned below:

  • Sporadic: Sporadic medullary thyroid cancer is a non-hereditary type of medullary cancer, since there is no family history of medullary thyroid cancer. Occur usually in patients in their 40s or 50s.
  • MEN associated: The second and third types are called MEN associated medullary thyroid cancer. They usually occur in younger patients. MEN stand for multiple endocrine neoplasia, which are a group of tumors affecting hormone glands that are passed on from one generation to the next.
  • Familial: The fourth type of medullary thyroid cancer is called familial type, which means that the thyroid cancer is passed genetically through a family, but not in association with the other endocrine tumors that occur in the MEN syndromes. Occur usually in patients in their 40s or 50s.

Adjuvant therapy for medullary thyroid cancer: Role of radioiodine treatment in medullary-type disease is nil unlike differentiated thyroid carcinoma. For patients at high risk of regional recurrence, even after optimum surgical treatment external beam radiotherapy should be considered.

Surgery and radiation therapy formed the major treatments for medullary thyroid carcinoma, after a long period during which clinical trials are now being studied.

Preliminary results show clear evidence of response of a small percentage of patients, providing hope for future advances. Thanks to the Advanced Research Efforts!!