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Endocr Pract. 2008 Sep;14(6):764-74.

Risk-adapted management of thyroid cancer.

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  • 1Joan and Sanford I Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



To describe a risk-adapted management paradigm for patients with differentiated thyroid cancer.


A risk-stratification approach is described that combines the standard clinical factors available during the initial evaluation with response-to-therapy variables to predict risk of death from thyroid cancer, risk of recurrence, and risk of failing initial therapy. This classic oncologic approach views risk stratification as an active, ongoing process in which risks are adjusted on the basis of accumulated clinical data, rather than considered as a static initial assessment that does not change.


From a clinical standpoint, accurate real-time assessment of risk can be used to guide both the initial treatment recommendations (extent of thyroid surgical resection, role of radioiodine ablation, and degree of thyrotropin suppression) and the follow-up management paradigm (intensity of testing and modalities used to detect recurrent disease).


By thinking like oncologists and individualizing therapy on the basis of initial and ongoing risk assessments, we can maximize the beneficial effects of aggressive therapy in patients with thyroid cancer who are likely to benefit from it, while minimizing potential complications and side effects in low-risk patients destined to have a full healthy productive life after minimal therapeutic intervention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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