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Journal of Oncology
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 183031, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/183031
Review Article

Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma: Targeted Therapies and Future Directions

Endocrine Surgery Research Laboratory, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, H4/722 Clinical Science Center, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792, USA

Received 28 February 2009; Accepted 24 November 2009

Academic Editor: Barbara Burtness

Copyright © 2009 Scott N. Pinchot et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) is a rare neuroendocrine neoplasm that accounts for approximately 5% of all thyroid malignancies. The natural history of MTC is characterized by early lymph node and distant metastases, making complete surgical cure often impossible. Conventional chemotherapy and external beam radiation have been largely ineffective in altering the natural history of MTC. Therefore, there is a great need to develop novel therapeutic strategies to affect symptom control and reduce tumor burden in patients with widely disseminated disease. Here, we review several pathways which have been shown to be vital in MTC tumorigenesis and focus on the pathways of interest for which targeted drug therapies are currently being developed.