Background: Although most thyroid cancer patients have an excellent prognosis, 10% of low-risk cancers and 25% of high-risk cancers recur, with mortality rates in excess of 50% at 3 years for aggressive thyroid cancer. Traditional paradigms including surgery, I131 ablation, and TSH suppression do not offer additional therapeutic options for cancers that fail these interventions. Risk stratification and outcomes data are shifting the treatment paradigms to favor more individualized therapies based on risk, and new treatment targets have been identified with promise to treat more aggressive thyroid cancer.
Methods: The authors review the recent literature and published guidelines on thyroid cancer and summarize changing management paradigms and treatments of thyroid cancer.
Results: Outcomes data and risk stratification have promoted changes to traditional paradigms. Total/near-total thyroidectomy improves outcomes in both recurrence and mortality. Central compartment lymph node dissection facilitates nodal status determination and likely improves outcomes, while low-risk patients with small tumors are not likely to benefit from I131 remnant ablation. Early-phase studies have demonstrated significant improvement in progression-free survival with multikinase inhibitors targeting MAPK and angiogenic pathways.
Conclusions: Risk stratification and outcomes data have modified treatment paradigms in thyroid cancer. Patients with progressive thyroid cancer that is no longer surgically resectable or iodine avid should be considered for treatment with multikinase inhibitors, preferably by enrollment in a therapeutic treatment trial
Posted: 05/10/2011; Cancer Control. 2011;18(2):96-103. © 2011 H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc.,