Cellular signaling pathway alterations and potential targeted therapies for medullary thyroid carcinoma

International Journal of Endocrinology
Serena GiuntiL Santarpia


Parafollicular C-cell-derived medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) comprises 3% to 4% of all thyroid cancers. While cytotoxic treatments have been shown to have limited efficacy, targeted molecular therapies that inhibit rearranged during transfection (RET) and other tyrosine kinase receptors that are mainly involved in angiogenesis have shown great promise in the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced MTC. Multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as vandetanib, which is already approved for the treatment of progressive MTC, and cabozantinib have shown distinct advantages with regard to rates of disease response and control. However, these types of tyrosine kinase inhibitor compounds are able to concurrently block several types of targets, which limits the understanding of RET as a specific target. Moreover, important resistances to tyrosine kinase inhibitors can occur, which limit the long-term efficacy of these treatments. Deregulated cellular signaling pathways and genetic alterations in MTC, particularly the activation of the RAS/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) cascades and RET crosstalk signaling, are now emerging as novel and potentially promising therapeutic treatments for aggressive MTC.


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Methods Mentioned

surgical resection
exome sequencing

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Cell Signaling by Tyrosine Kinases

Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are the high-affinity cell surface receptors for many polypeptide growth factors, cytokines, and hormones. RTKs have been shown not only to be key regulators of normal cellular processes but also to have a critical role in the development and progression of many types of cancer. Discover the latest research on cell signaling and RTK here.

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