Medullary carcinoma of thyroid

Alternative Names

Thyroid – medullary carcinoma; Cancer – thyroid (medullary carcinoma); MTC

Definition of Medullary carcinoma of thyroid

Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid is cancer of the thyroid gland that starts in cells that release a hormone called calcitonin. Such cells are called “C” cells.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (MTC) is unknown.

Signs and tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam. Lymph nodes in the neck may be swollen. Thyroid function tests are usually normal. However, an examination of the thyroid may reveal single or multiple nodules (lumps).

Treatment

Treatment involves surgery to remove the thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes. Because this is an uncommon tumor, surgery should be performed by a surgeon who is familiar with this type of cancer.

Expectations (prognosis)

Approximately 86% of those with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid live at least 5 years after diagnosis. The 10-year survival rate is 65%.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/2/2010

Thyroid cancer - CT scan
Thyroid gland

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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