Endocrine Aspects of Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma

Part of the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (RECENTCANCER, volume 118)


Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a neoplasm of the calcitonin-secreting parafollicular, or C cells, of the thyroid gland; it comprises 5%–10% of all cases of thyroid cancer. In contrast to the follicular cells of the thyroid gland that metabolize iodine and produce the classical thyroid homones T3 and T4, the C cells produce and secrete calcitonin (CT) and related peptides. During embryogenesis the C cells migrate from the neural crest to the last branchial pouch and ultimately to the thyroid. The neural crest origin of the C cells is one explanation for the production of a wide variety of bioactive substances similar to other neuro-endocrine cells, but also for the association of MTC with other tumors of neural crest origin. Another important clinical feature of MTC is its familial occurrence with an autosomal dominant pattern, its multifocal development of C cell hyperplasia prior to malignant transformation, and its association with other endocrine tumors (e.g., bilateral pheochromocytoma).


Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Bioactive Substance Neural Crest Origin Familial Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Patient 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin·Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Raue
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung für Innere Medizin I, Endokrinologie und StoffwechselMedizinische UniversitätsklinikHeidelbergGermany

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