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J Oncol. 2009;2009:183031. doi: 10.1155/2009/183031. Epub 2009 Dec 24.

Medullary thyroid carcinoma: targeted therapies and future directions.

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  • 1Endocrine Surgery Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, H4/722 Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792, USA.


Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare neuroendocrine neoplasm that accounts for approximately 5% of all thyroid malignancies. The natural history of MTC is characterized by early lymph node and distant metastases, making complete surgical cure often impossible. Conventional chemotherapy and external beam radiation have been largely ineffective in altering the natural history of MTC. Therefore, there is a great need to develop novel therapeutic strategies to affect symptom control and reduce tumor burden in patients with widely disseminated disease. Here, we review several pathways which have been shown to be vital in MTC tumorigenesis and focus on the pathways of interest for which targeted drug therapies are currently being developed.

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