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Molecular influences in thyroid and parathyroid surgery.

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University Department of Surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, Bristol, UK.


Recent progress in molecular biology and genetics has made a major impact on the management of patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes MEN-1 and MEN-2. The understanding of the mechanisms involved in inherited thyroid and parathyroid tumours also offered valuable answers for other models of neoplasia. In addition, parathyroid surgery has witnessed rapid progress, from the cloning of the calcium receptor to the development of calcimimetics, a new class of drugs that could shift the management of hyperparathyroidism from surgical intervention to medical treatment. Laboratory techniques initially designed for research are more and more being used for clinical diagnosis. For example, the use of the polymerase chain reaction is currently being evaluated in the early diagnosis of metastatic thyroid carcinoma by identifying specific gene products in the local lymph nodes. This chapter attempts to convince the reader that molecular biology is no longer restricted to the laboratory but has an increasing impact on clinical decisions to which an endocrine surgeon is exposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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