Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genomic 'markers' may head off thousands of thyroid surgeries

Date:
November 24, 2010
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
Doctors are beginning to use a genomic approach to evaluating suspicious thyroid nodules. The test could eliminate the need for tens of thousands of unnecessary thyroid surgeries every year.

Doctors at the University of Colorado School of Medicine were concerned recently when they found a nodule in the thyroid of a 64-year-old Colorado man. They extracted cells from the nodule, hoping to determine whether the man had cancer. But the biopsy results were inconclusive.

Related Articles


Even a few months ago, such uncertainty would have likely led to surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid. At least this patient would have faced a tense waiting period to see if, over time, he developed clear signs of cancer.

This time, however, the CU doctors simply sent the cell sample to a laboratory. There, a test analyzed the cells' molecular patterns, producing a result that was a relief for the patient: there was a high level of certainty he didn't have cancer.

The CU doctors are helping lead the way nationally in the use of this genomic approach to evaluating suspicious thyroid nodules. The test that benefitted the 64-year-old patient could eliminate the need for tens of thousands of unnecessary thyroid surgeries every year. The patient is willing to talk with reporters.

"This should allow many patients to avoid the cost, discomfort and risk of surgery," says Bryan Haugen, MD, who heads the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the CU medical school.

Usually, when cells are extracted from suspicious nodules in the thyroid, they're found to be benign. No cancer. But here's the problem -- in 15-30 percent of those samples, it's hard to tell. The next step in most cases has been for a surgeon to remove part, or all, of the thyroid. That tissue is examined further. More than 70 percent of the time, there's no cancer, yet the patient had to undergo surgery to get that good news -- and is often subjected to lifelong thyroid hormone therapy as a result.

Haugen and the national team sought to determine if the new test could help avoid those surgeries and still identify when there's no cancer. The answer, it now turns out, is yes. The secret lies in the genes.

"When we see test results showing the right patterns we can say with a great deal of certainty that, despite initial concerns, the patient does not have cancer," Haugen says.

The test was developed by Veracyte, a California-based molecular diagnostics company. The company is marketing its thyroid test -- branded Afirma -- on a limited basis and plans additional commercialization in early 2011.

Veracyte's researchers developed the test by identifying genomic patterns that would reliably tell when a patient has no cancer present. Haugen's team at CU, along with researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a part of Harvard Medical School, is now co-leading a national trial to validate Veracyte's test. The trial involves more than 40 sites that are comparing the genomic test's results to analyses by two pathology experts of tissue obtained by traditional surgery. In September Haugen presented early information to an international thyroid conference in Paris. The findings confirmed the test's premise -- that when certain patterns appear among 142 thyroid genes (out of tens of thousands), the odds are very high -- more than 95 percent -- that there's no cancer.

That's a probability but not a certainty. Those odds are similar, however, to when an expert pathologist looks at the cells and determines there is no cancer -- but this time without surgery.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 44,670 new thyroid cancer cases (33,930 in women, and 10,740 in men) will be diagnosed nationwide this year. Nearly two-thirds of the cases occur in people between the ages of 20 and 55. The chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has doubled since 1990, in part because of better detection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Genomic 'markers' may head off thousands of thyroid surgeries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123100517.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2010, November 24). Genomic 'markers' may head off thousands of thyroid surgeries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123100517.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Genomic 'markers' may head off thousands of thyroid surgeries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101123100517.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins