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Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 125450, 20 pages
Review Article

Immune Response in Thyroid Cancer: Widening the Boundaries

Laboratory of Cancer Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas (FCM-Unicamp), Rua Tessália Vieira de Camargo 126, Barão Geraldo, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil

Received 3 March 2014; Accepted 19 June 2014; Published 25 September 2014

Academic Editor: Daiqing Liao

Copyright © 2014 Laura Sterian Ward. 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.


The association between thyroid cancer and thyroid inflammation has been repeatedly reported and highly debated in the literature. In fact, both molecular and epidemiological data suggest that these diseases are closely related and this association reinforces that the immune system is important for thyroid cancer progression. Innate immunity is the first line of defensive response. Unlike innate immune responses, adaptive responses are highly specific to the particular antigen that induced them. Both branches of the immune system may interact in antitumor immune response. Major effector cells of the immune system that directly target thyroid cancer cells include dendritic cells, macrophages, polymorphonuclear leukocytes, mast cells, and lymphocytes. A mixture of immune cells may infiltrate thyroid cancer microenvironment and the balance of protumor and antitumor activity of these cells may be associated with prognosis. Herein, we describe some evidences that immune response may be important for thyroid cancer progression and may help us identify more aggressive tumors, sparing the vast majority of patients from costly unnecessary invasive procedures. The future trend in thyroid cancer is an individualized therapy.