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Unusual Cancers of Childhood Treatment (PDQ®)

  • Updated: 05/02/2014

Table 2. Thyroid Carcinomas in Children

Histology Associated Chromosomal Abnormality  Presentation Diagnosis Treatment 
EGF = epidermal growth factor; MEN2 = multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2; TSH = thyroid-stimulating hormone.
Papillary thyroid carcinoma (differentiated with generally a benign course)RET/PTC more common in children. BRAF V600E mutations seen in adults are rare in children.Thyroid mass. Prepubertal children more often with nodal and lung metastases.Ultrasound, TSH, thyroglobulin. Fine needle or open biopsy.Total or near-total thyroidectomy; I-131; thyroid hormone. In metastatic or recurrent disease, tyrosine kinase or EGF receptor inhibitors may be of benefit.
Follicular thyroid carcinoma (differentiated with generally benign course)Sporadic or familialThyroid mass. Prepubertal children more often with nodal and lung metastases.Ultrasound, TSH, thyroglobulin. Fine needle or open biopsy.Total or near-total thyroidectomy; I-131; thyroid hormone. In metastatic or recurrent disease, tyrosine kinase or EGF receptor inhibitors may be of benefit.
Medullary thyroid carcinomaMEN2Aggressive. 50% with metastases at presentation.In familial MEN2, RET testing.Aggressive surgical intervention. Prophylactic thyroidectomy is indicated in familial cases.