Thyroid cancer is an uncommon, but often fatal condition compounded by the fact that there are no standard tests to diagnose this condition.
New guidelines designed to standardize and optimize the diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of patients with Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) is an uncommon and challenging form of thyroid cancer, have been developed by the American Thyroid Association and published online ahead of print in Thyroid
, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The guidelines are available free online at www.liebertpub.com/thy
"Following careful peer review, Thyroid
has published the first comprehensive set of clinical guidelines for the treatment of all medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) disorders," says Charles H. Emerson, MD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal and Professor Emeritus at University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester. "This form of thyroid cancer is especially important because of its high mortality, strong inheritance patterns, and associations with other serious glandular disorders. These evidence-based guidelines will become a benchmark for patient management and clinical research, as they illuminate the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies required when caring for gravely ill patients and those in the anxiety-ridden early stages of the disease, and when offering testing and counseling to family members."
MTC is a complex disease that accounts for about 4% of all thyroid cancer cases in the United States. Nearly 25% of cases worldwide are familial and present as an autosomal inherited disorder. In individuals with the inherited form of MTC, a preneoplastic lesion called C-cell hyperplasia will first develop and then progress to an invasive, life-threatening malignancy.
The American Thyroid Association www.thyroid.org has compiled 122 evidence-based recommendations that cover a range of clinical topics, including diagnosis and therapy for early disease, genetic testing, surgical management, post-surgical treatment and monitoring, management of persistent or recurrent MTC and metastatic disease, and long-term follow-up. The guidelines also propose directions for future research on MTC.
"Medullary thyroid cancer is a rare and fascinating disease that few health care professionals ever master," says Richard T. Kloos, MD, Chair of the ATA Guidelines Task Force, Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the American Thyroid Association, and Co-Director of the Ohio State University Thyroid Cancer Unit. "The ATA guidelines promote optimal medical care that is grounded in an evidence-based review of the literature by an international and multidisciplinary panel. It is our hope that they will serve all the professionals that care for these patients, including those in the fields of endocrinology, genetics, pediatrics, radiology, nuclear medicine, surgery, and oncology."