Mutation Hikes Death Risk in Thyroid Cancer

April 10, 2013

Medpage Today reports that patients with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) who are carriers of the BRAF V600E mutation may have worse mortality, researchers reported in the April 10 issue of JAMA. In an accompanying editorial by Penn endocrinologists Anne Cappola, MD, ScD and Susan Mandel, MD, MPH, the findings provide two important insights. First, they suggest that this mutation "mediates features of the clinically aggressive tumors that account for the vast majority of PTC mortality," and provides a "strong biological rationale for current trials of targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy" for patients with the mutation who have advanced disease. On the other hand, the results suggest that screening for the mutation "doesn't add predictive value for PTC-related mortality beyond the information collected in the process of PTC tumor staging."

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