Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma

  • Jean François Chatal
  • Jacques Barbet
  • Francoise Kraeber-Bodéré
  • David M. Goldenberg


Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) originates from parafollicular cells (C-cells) of the thyroid gland. Calcitonin is a hormone secreted by parafollicular cells. The exact role of calcitonin is not understood, but it modulates bone mineral turnover. Medullary carcinoma accounts for less than 5 % of all thyroid cancers and is a clinically heterogeneous disease with quite variable growth rates and survival extending from months to years, sometimes decades, even when the disease is metastatic [1]. The primary treatment for this neuroendocrine tumor is surgical consisting of total thyroidectomy, with dissection of ipsilateral and central lymph nodes, which may be extended to contralateral nodes. Following surgery, patients, without lymph node involvement who have an undetectable calcitonin serum level, can be considered to be cured. For patients with persistent abnormal calcitonin serum levels, indicating residual disease or relapse, imaging generally becomes positive when calcitonin levels exceed 200 ng/L [2]. When the relapse is localized in the neck or mediastinum, single or repeated surgical resection(s) is (are) performed but are rarely followed by a normalization of calcitonin serum level. This situation is compatible, nevertheless, with long survival extending to some years and even decades without additional therapy [3]. It is important to take into consideration reliable prognostic indicators before planning systemic treatment (targeted radionuclide therapy and/or chemotherapy). Indeed, systemic treatment can be highly toxic with only a modest survival benefit. Thus, it is necessary to carefully balance the potential toxicity and benefit.


Thyroid Cancer Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Multikinase Inhibitor Calcitonin Serum Parafollicular Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean François Chatal
    • 1
  • Jacques Barbet
    • 1
    • 2
  • Francoise Kraeber-Bodéré
    • 2
    • 3
  • David M. Goldenberg
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.GIP ARRONAXNantesFrance
  2. 2.Oncology Research CenterNantes University, Inserm UMR 892NantesFrance
  3. 3.Nuclear Medicine DepartmentUniversity Hospital and ICO Gauducheau Cancer InstituteNantesFrance
  4. 4.IBC Pharmaceuticals, Inc, and Immunomedics, IncMorris PlainsUSA
  5. 5.Garden State Cancer Center, Center for Molecular Medicine and ImmunologyMorris PlainsUSA

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