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      Unique Case of a Large Indolent Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma: Time to Reconsider the Medullary Thyroid Adenoma Entity?

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          Background: Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a rare neuroendocrine cancer originating from parafollicular, calcitonin (Ctn)-producing C-cells. Prognosis correlates with primary tumor stage and Ctn levels. Patient: We describe a case of MTC involving a mass 7 cm in its largest dimension, associated with high Ctn concentrations (> 5,000 pg/mL), but normal carcinoembryonic antigen levels, and with no lymph nodes or distant metastases, in complete remission after thyroid surgery. The MTC had very peculiar histological features, with an expansive, noninfiltrating growth around the thyroid follicles, and no signs of invasion. These histopathological characteristics are reminiscent of the C-cell adenoma described in animals. The tumor also revealed an ossifying extracellular matrix unlike the classical amyloid. Despite the size of the tumor and the patient’s high Ctn levels at diagnosis, the case described here reached complete remission after surgery. Conclusions: Further studies are needed to clarify the characteristics of MTC and better predict its behavior at diagnosis.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Prognostic significance of somatic RET oncogene mutations in sporadic medullary thyroid cancer: a 10-year follow-up study.

          Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a well-differentiated thyroid tumor that maintains the typical features of C cells. An advanced stage and the presence of lymph node metastases at diagnosis have been demonstrated to be the most important bad prognostic factors. Somatic RET mutations have been found in 40-50% of MTCs. Although a relationship between somatic mutations and bad prognosis has been described, data are controversial and have been performed in small series with short-term follow ups. The aim of this study was to verify the prognostic value of somatic RET mutations in a large series of MTCs with a long follow up. We studied 100 sporadic MTC patients with a 10.2 yr mean follow-up. RET gene exons 10-11 and 13-16 were analyzed. The correlation between the presence/absence of a somatic RET mutation, clinical/pathological features, and outcome of MTC patients was evaluated. A somatic RET mutation was found in 43 of 100 (43%) sporadic MTCs. The most frequent mutation (34 of 43, 79%) was M918T. RET mutation occurrence was more frequent in larger tumors (P=0.03), and in MTC with node and distant metastases (P<0.0001 and P=0.02, respectively), thus, a significant correlation was found with a more advanced stage at diagnosis (P=0.004). A worse outcome was also significantly correlated with the presence of a somatic RET mutation (P=0.002). Among all prognostic factors found to be correlated with a worse outcome, at multivariate analysis only the advanced stage at diagnosis and the presence of a RET mutation showed an independent correlation (P<0.0001 and P=0.01, respectively). Finally, the survival curves of MTC patients showed a significantly lower percentage of surviving patients in the group with RET mutations (P=0.006). We demonstrated that the presence of a somatic RET mutation correlates with a worse outcome of MTC patients, not only for the highest probability to have persistence of the disease, but also for a lower survival rate in a long-term follow up. More interestingly, the presence of a somatic RET mutation correlates with the presence of lymph node metastases at diagnosis, which is a known bad prognostic factor for the definitive cure of MTC patients.
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            Medullary thyroid carcinoma.

            Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) arises from parafollicular or C cells that produce calcitonin (CT), and accounts for 5-10% of all thyroid cancers. MTC is hereditary in about 25% of cases. The discovery of a MTC in a patient has several implications: disease extent should be evaluated, phaeochromocytoma and hyperparathyroidism should be screened for and whether the MTC is sporadic or hereditary should be determined by a direct analysis of the RET proto-oncogene. In this review, pathological characteristics, tumour markers and genetic abnormalities in MTC are discussed. The diagnostic and therapeutic modalities applied to patients with clinical MTC and those identified with preclinical disease through familial screening are also described. Progresses concerning genetics, initial treatment, follow-up, screening and treatment of pheochromocytoma have permitted an improvement in the long-term outcome. However, there is no effective treatment for distant metastases, and new therapeutic modalities are urgently needed.
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              Biomarker-based risk stratification for previously untreated medullary thyroid cancer.

              Preoperative neck ultrasonography may yield false-negative findings in more than one-third of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) patients. If not cleared promptly, cervical lymph node metastases may emerge subsequently. Reoperations entail an excess risk of surgical morbidity and may be avoidable. This comprehensive investigation aimed to evaluate in a head-to-head comparison the clinical utility of pretherapeutic biomarker serum levels (basal calcitonin; stimulated calcitonin; carcinoembryonic antigen) for indicating extent of disease and providing biochemical stratification of pretherapeutic MTC risk. This was a retrospective analysis. The setting was a tertiary referral center. Included were 300 consecutive patients with previously untreated MTC. The intervention was compartment-oriented surgery. Stratified biomarker levels were correlated with histopathologic extent of disease. Higher biomarker levels reflected larger primary tumors and more lymph node metastases. Stratified basal calcitonin serum levels correlated better (r = 0.59) with the number of lymph node metastases than carcinoembryonic antigen (r = 0.47) or pentagastrin-stimulated calcitonin (r = 0.40) levels. Lymph node metastases were present in the ipsilateral central and lateral neck, contralateral central neck, contralateral lateral neck, and upper mediastinum, respectively, beyond basal calcitonin thresholds of 20, 50, 200, and 500 pg/ml. Bilateral compartment-oriented neck surgery achieved biochemical cure in at least half the patients with pretherapeutic basal calcitonin levels of 1,000 pg/ml or less but not in patients with levels greater than 10,000 pg/ml. Most newly diagnosed MTC patients, i.e. those with pretherapeutic basal calcitonin levels greater than 200 pg/ml, may need bilateral compartment-oriented neck surgery to reduce the number of reoperations.

                Author and article information

                European Thyroid Journal
                S. Karger AG
                April 2019
                06 December 2018
                : 8
                : 2
                : 108-112
                aEndocrinology Unit, Department of Medicine (DIMED), University of Padua, Padua, Italy
                bFamilial Tumor Unit, Veneto Institute of Oncology, (IOV)-IRCCS, Padua, Italy
                cSurgery Unit, Department of Surgical, Oncological and Gastroenterological Sciences (DiSCOG), University of Padua, Padua, Italy
                dSurgical Pathology & Cytopathology Unit, Department of Medicine (DIMED), University of Padua, Padua, Italy
                Author notes
                *Prof. Caterina Mian, Endocrinology Unit, Department of Medicine-DIMED, Via Ospedale n. 105, IT–35128 Padua(Italy), E-Mail caterina.mian@unipd.it
                494675 PMC6514480 Eur Thyroid J 2019;8:108–112
                © 2018 European Thyroid Association Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Pages: 5
                Clinical Thyroidology / Original Paper


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