Thyroid cancer is a rare but serious disease, and is the most common endocrine malignancy. According to the World Health Organization, worldwide there were more than 298,000 new cases of thyroid cancer annually (68,179 men and 229,923 women) and nearly 40,000 people died from the disease in 2012, the most recently available data year.
Papillary, follicular and Hürthle cell types of thyroid cancer are classified as differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and account for approximately 94 percent of all thyroid cancers.
Treating Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is typically found as palpable nodules in the thyroid. These nodules do not produce thyroid hormones. There are three major groups of thyroid cancers based on the origin of the tumor cells and the tumor’s clinical behavior. Treatment of thyroid cancer differs between these types but almost always includes surgical removal of part of or the entire thyroid gland. After surgery, in many but not all patients, the remaining thyroid tissue can be destroyed via radioactive-iodine therapy in differentiated thyroid cancer.
While the majority of differentiated thyroid cancers are treatable, RAI-refractory locally advanced or metastatic disease is more difficult to treat and is associated with a lower patient survival rate. In metastatic thyroid cancer, 20–25 percent of cases are RAI-refractory. To date, RAI-refractory patients have only had a life expectancy of 3-5 years. Further, only 10 percent of RAI-refractory patients survive 10 years after diagnosis, versus 60 percent of patients who do respond to RAI therapy. Chemotherapy has low response/survival rates and significant toxicity in RAI-refractory patients, leaving them in need of new treatment options.
Advice for patients
Each body reacts differently to medicines. Therefore it is impossible to tell which medicine works best for you. Please consult your physician.