Papillary Thyroid Cancer

Key Clinical Characteristics

  • The most common form of thyroid cancer, accounts for 80-90% of all thyroid cancer.
  • The incidence of papillary thyroid cancer is rising in the U.S.
  • This form of thyroid cancer is more common among women.
  • Radiation exposure during childhood is a risk factor for the development of this form of thyroid cancer.
  • With effective therapy, long term survival rates exceed 95-98% for most patients with this form of thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroid cancer arises from mutations in specific genes.

Basics of Disease Management

  • Papillary thyroid cancer is usually diagnosed by a fine needle aspiration biopsy of a thyroid nodule.
  • Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for papillary thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroidectomy should be performed by an experienced thyroid surgeon.
  • Endocrinologists play a key role in diagnosing and managing patients 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.
  • Papillary thyroid cancers usually produce thyroglobulin that can be measured by a blood test

Advanced Disease: Special Issues

  • Some subtypes of papillary thyroid cancer, such as the tall cell variant, are more aggressive.
  • Many patients with papillary thyroid cancer may have disease that has spread to lymph nodes in the neck.
  • More rarely, papillary thyroid cancer can spread (metastasize) to other organs in the body, such as lungs and bones.
  • 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