A task force convened by the American Thyroid Association (ATA) released updated guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). The current document is the first revision of the original guidelines published in 2009. The recommendations were published in Thyroid (2015; doi:10.1089/thy.2014.0335), and are available free on the Thyroid web site.

Lead author and Task Force Chair Samuel A. Wells, Jr, MD, Cancer Genetics Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, together with a team of expert colleagues, reviewed the basic science and clinical literature and developed evidence-based recommendations to guide physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with sporadic and hereditary MTC.

The 68 recommendations represent current and optimal medical practice.

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The authors observed that despite significant progress in the management of patients with MTC, much remains to be done. Although patients with advanced disease, who receive recently developed novel therapeutic compounds, experience reduction in tumor size and have significantly prolonged progression-free survival, compared with patients receiving placebo, drug resistance almost always develops and the tumor progresses.

There is a critical need for more effective drugs, or combinations of drugs, that will improve the overall survival of these patients.

“The updated MTC guidelines provide a superb overview on the biology, diagnosis, and therapy of MTC. They form a state-of-the-art basis for a differentiated clinical care of patients with MTC and also highlight areas that are in need of further investigation and improvements,” said Peter A. Kopp, MD, editor-in-chief of Thyroid and associate professor of medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

“The revised guidelines for management of medullary thyroid carcinoma are an excellent detailed review of the literature, and they provide an invaluable resource for the practicing endocrinologist, surgeon, oncologist, and others to assist in care of their patients,” said Robert C. Smallridge, MD, president of the ATA, professor of medicine and former Chair, Endocrinology Division, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida.