Clinical features and genetic predisposition to hereditary nonmedullary thyroid cancer

Thyroid. 2009 Dec;19(12):1343-9. doi: 10.1089/thy.2009.1607.


Background: Approximately 5% of the nonmedullary thyroid cancers are hereditary. Hereditary nonmedullary thyroid cancer may occur as a minor component of familial cancer syndromes (familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner's syndrome, Cowden's disease, Carney's complex type 1, Werner's syndrome, and papillary renal neoplasia) or as a primary feature (familial nonmedullary thyroid cancer [FNMTC]). The goal of this article was to review our current knowledge on the hereditary nonmedullary thyroid cancer.

Summary: Epidemiologic and clinical kindred studies have demonstrated that FNMTC is a unique clinical entity. Most studies suggest that FNMTC is associated with more aggressive disease than sporadic cases, with higher rates of multicentric tumors, lymph node metastasis, extrathyroidal invasion, and shorter disease-free survival. A hereditary predisposition to nonmedullary thyroid cancer is well established, but the susceptibility genes for isolated FNMTC have not been identified. However, additional susceptibility loci for FNMTC have been recently identified in classic isolated cases of FNMTC (1q21, 6q22, 8p23.1-p22, and 8q24).

Conclusions: More studies are needed to validate chromosomal susceptibility loci and identify the susceptibility genes for FNMTC. The discovery of the predisposing genes may allow for screening and early diagnosis, which could lead to improved outcomes for patients and their families.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyposis Coli / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / genetics
  • Carney Complex / genetics
  • Gardner Syndrome / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Hamartoma Syndrome, Multiple / genetics
  • Humans
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Werner Syndrome / genetics