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Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2009 Dec;29(6):296-304.

Occult thyroid carcinoma.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Charles University in Prague, University Hospital Motol, Prague, Czech Republic.


Some medical definitions remain the same for many years, others change due to the progress in the diagnostic tools, which are able to distinguish markers and symptoms until then undetectable. Occult thyroid carcinoma is a general term indicating clinically different situations, whereas the incidentally detected papillary thyroid microcarcinoma is the most important from the clinical point of view. It is fundamental, for therapeutic management, to determine biological parameters which would define a small group of papillary thyroid microcarcinomas with aggressive biological behaviour. The most promising genetic and molecular markers for papillary thyroid carcinoma risk stratification are discussed in this review. Preoperative evaluation of these markers, obtained through analysis of ultrasonography-guided fine needle biopsy specimens of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma, could be very valuable in guiding treatment of this type of cancer.


Molecular markers; Occult carcinoma; Papillary microcarcinoma; Therapeutic strategy; Thyroid

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