Document Type: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
King Hussein Cancer center (KHCC), Amman, Jordan.
Thyroid neoplasms encompass a variety of lesions that range from benign adenomas to malignancies. These latter can be well-differentiated, poorly differentiated or undifferentiated (anaplastic) carcinomas. More than 95% of thyroid cancers are derived from thyroid follicular cells, while 2-3% (medullary thyroid cancers, MTC) originate from calcitonin producing C-cells. Over the last decade, investigators have developed a clearer understanding of genetic alterations underlying thyroid carcinogenesis. A number of point mutations and translocations are involved, not only in its tumorigenesis, but also as have potential use as diagnostic and prognostic indicators and therapeutic targets. Many occur in genes for several important signaling pathways, in particular the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Sporadic (isolated) lesions account for 75% of MTC cases, while inherited MTC, often in association with multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) type 2A and 2B syndromes, constitute the remainder. However, non-MEN familial MTC may also occur. Advances in genetic testing have revolutionized the management of MTC, with prospects of genetic screening, testing and early prophylactic thyroidectomy. Ethical concerns of these advances are addressed.