Familial non-medullary thyroid carcinoma: an update

Endocr Pathol. 2008 Winter;19(4):226-40. doi: 10.1007/s12022-008-9045-z.


Familial thyroid cancer can arise from follicular cells (familial non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (FNMTC)) or from the calcitonin-producing C-cell (familial medullary thyroid carcinoma). This is usually a component of multiple endocrine neoplasias (MEN) IIA or IIB, or as pure familial medullary thyroid carcinoma syndrome. The genetic events in the familial C-cell-derived tumors are known and genotype-phenotype correlations are well established. In contrast, the case for a familial predisposition of non-medullary thyroid carcinoma is only now beginning to emerge. Although the majority of papillary (PTC) and follicular thyroid carcinomas (FTC) are sporadic, familial tumors account for over 5% of cases. The presence of multifocal papillary carcinoma is a common feature of FNMTC. The familial follicular cell-derived tumors or non-medullary thyroid carcinomas encompass a heterogeneous group of diseases, including diverse syndromic-associated tumors and non-syndromic tumors. Based on clinico-pathologic findings, FNMTC is divided into two groups. The first includes familial syndromes characterized by a predominance of non-thyroidal tumors, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome (PHTS), Carney complex type 1, and Werner syndrome. The second group includes familial syndromes characterized by a predominance of NMTC, such as pure familial (f) PTC with or without oxyphilia, fPTC with papillary renal cell carcinoma, and fPTC with multinodular goiter. Some characteristic morphologic findings should alert the pathologist of a possible familial cancer syndrome, which may lead to further molecular genetic evaluation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / genetics*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hamartoma Syndrome, Multiple / genetics*
  • Hamartoma Syndrome, Multiple / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia / genetics*
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia / pathology
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology