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Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2007 Sep;36(3):779-806, vii.

Thyroid cancer in children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine, P.O. Box 208081, 464 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06520-8081, USA.


In 1996, the authors were asked to review the subject of thyroid cancer in children. Over the subsequent decade, much has been learned about the treatment and outcome of these uncommon tumors. We now recognize quantitative and perhaps qualitative differences in genetic mutations and growth factor expression patterns in childhood thyroid cancers compared with those of adults. We also know that thyroid cancers induce a robust immune response in children that might contribute to their longevity. Patients under 10 years of age probably represent a unique subset of children at particularly high risk for persistent or recurrent disease; the management of these patients is under evaluation. We remain limited in our knowledge of how to stratify children into low- and high-risk categories for appropriate long-term follow-up and in our knowledge of how to treat children who have detectable serum thyroglobulin but negative imaging studies. In this article, the authors update our understanding of thyroid cancers in children with special emphasis on how these data relate to the current guidelines for management of thyroid cancer developed by the American Thyroid Association Taskforce. The limited data regarding management of children who have detectable serum thyroglobulin but negative whole-body scans are also reviewed.

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