Follicular Thyroid Cancer

Key Clinical Characteristics

  • Second most common form of thyroid cancer, this accounts for 5-10% of all thyroid cancer.
  • This form of thyroid cancer is more common among women and older adults.
  • Iodine deficiency, which is common in developing countries, plays a role in the etiology of this cancer.
  • With effective therapy, , long term survival rates exceed 90-95% for most patients with this form of thyroid cancer.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer arises from mutations in specific genes.

Basics of Disease Management

  • A FNA may suggest the possibility of a follicular cancer. Further testing using molecular diagnostics or surgery is often required to make a definitive diagnosis.
  • Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for confirmed follicular thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroidectomy should be performed by an experienced thyroid surgeon.
  • Endocrinologists play a key role in diagnosing and managing patient’s with thyroid cancer. Most patients will require replacement therapy with thyroid hormone (T4) which requires monitoring.
  • Some patients may benefit from treatment with radioactive iodine. This decision is best made in consultation with an endocrinologist or nuclear medicine specialist.
  • Thyroid cancer treatment should be individualized by a team of specialists to ensure the best possible outcome.
  • Follicular thyroid cancers usually produce thyroglobulin that can be measured by a blood test.

Advanced Disease: Special Issues

  • Up to 25% of patients with follicular thyroid cancer may have spread of disease (metastasis) to other parts of the body such as the lungs or bones.
  • Some forms of follicular thyroid cancer, such as Hurthle cell carcinoma, are associated with more aggressive disease.
  • Patients with symptoms due to metastatic thyroid cancer or growth of thyroid cancer in other organs may benefit from consultation with a medical oncologist specializing in thyroid cancer and consideration of targeted therapy or participation in clinical trials.

Participation in Clinical Trials

  • Clinical trials are carefully controlled experiments that are conducted to discover more effective therapies.
  • Some patients with advanced disease may be candidates for participation in clinical trials.
  • Physicians that specialize in care of patients with advanced thyroid cancer can help identify whether you may be an appropriate candidate for participation in a clinical trial.
  • Consultation with a thyroid cancer specialist to consider new forms of therapy for thyroid cancer is encouraged for patients with advanced disease.

 

Contact

International Thyroid Oncology Group
5166 Commercial Drive
Yorkville, New York 13495