The clinical outcome of prospective screening for multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2a. An 18-year experience

The New England Journal of Medicine
R F GagelS Reichlin


An important question facing physicians who care for families with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2a is whether prospective screening to detect early abnormalities of the thyroid, parathyroid, or adrenal glands favorably influences the ultimate course of the disease. An 18-year study of a large family has allowed us to examine the effect of early treatment on the clinical course of the disease. Of 22 patients who underwent thyroidectomy for early C-cell abnormalities, 19 remained free of detectable medullary thyroid carcinoma according to all criteria, at a mean of 11 years after thyroidectomy. None of the 22 patients had evidence of parathyroid disease either at the time of surgery or after a mean follow-up of 10 years. Prospective screening for adrenal medullary abnormalities by means of measurement of 24-hour urinary epinephrine excretion and the ratio of urinary epinephrine to norepinephrine was predictive of pheochromocytoma in 10 of 11 patients (with a false negative result in one patient) but was not useful in diagnosing adrenal medullary hyperplasia. We conclude that regular, prospective screening and early treatment of the manifestations of multiple endocrine neoplasia can prevent metastasis of medullary thyroid car...Continue Reading


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