Thyroid carcinoma

Lancet. 2003 Feb 8;361(9356):501-11. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(03)12488-9.


Thyroid carcinomas are fairly uncommon and include disease types that range from indolent localised papillary carcinomas to the fulminant and lethal anaplastic disease. Several attempts to formulate a consensus about treatment of thyroid carcinoma have resulted in published guidelines for diagnosis and initial disease management. Multimodality treatments are widely recommended, although there is little evidence from prospective trials to support this approach. Surgical resection to achieve local disease control remains the cornerstone of primary treatment for most thyroid cancers, and is often followed by adjuvant radioiodine treatment for papillary and follicular types of disease. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is used not only to rectify postsurgical hypothyroidism, but also because there is evidence to suggest that high doses that suppress thyroid stimulating hormone prevent disease recurrence in patients with papillary or follicular carcinomas. Treatment for progressive metastatic disease is often of limited benefit, and there is a pressing need for novel approaches in treatment of patients at high risk of disease-related death. In families with inherited thyroid cancer syndromes, early diagnosis and intervention based on genetic testing might prevent poor disease outcomes. Care should be carefully coordinated by members of an experienced multidisciplinary team, and patients should be provided with education about diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment options to allow them to make informed contributions to decisions about their care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Thyroidectomy