Clinical review 158: Beyond radioiodine: a review of potential new therapeutic approaches for thyroid cancer

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 May;88(5):1947-60. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-021863.


One of the greatest challenges in the management of patients with follicular cell-derived thyroid cancer is the treatment of tumors that progress despite surgery, radioiodine, and T(4) suppression of TSH. As knowledge of thyroid cancer biology improves, the potential exists to develop compounds targeted to treat thyroid cancers that do not respond to traditional therapy. Recently, the development of therapies targeted against specific molecular pathways involved in cancer progression has resulted in dramatic responses in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and other cancers. A number of compounds are currently being evaluated in clinical trials that alter pathways involved thyroid cancer, and several of these agents have been tested in thyroid cancer in vitro and in vivo. In this review we will discuss the mechanisms of action and preclinical/clinical data for several of these compounds that have the potential to play an important role in the management of thyroid cancer in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Farnesyltranstransferase
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / drug effects
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / therapy
  • ras Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ras Proteins / genetics


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • Farnesyltranstransferase
  • ras Proteins