Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid gland (MCT) is a rare form of cancer that arises from the C cells of the thyroid, which are endocrine cells that produce calcitonin, a hormone involved in calcium metabolism. The exact cause of MCT is unknown, but genetic mutations in the RET proto-oncogene have been associated with the development of MCT.
Diagnosis of MCT is usually made with imaging techniques such as ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. These imaging techniques can help to identify the location and size of the tumor. A biopsy of the tumor can be used to confirm the diagnosis, and a blood test can be used to measure the level of calcitonin in the blood.
Differential diagnosis for MCT includes other types of thyroid cancer such as papillary and follicular carcinomas, as well as benign thyroid nodules.
Treatment of MCT depends on the size and stage of the tumor, as well as the patient’s overall health. Surgery is typically the first line of treatment, and may involve the removal of the entire thyroid gland or just the affected lobe. Other treatment options include radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
The prognosis for MCT is generally good, especially if the tumor is detected early. However, MCT can spread to other parts of the body, so long-term follow-up is important. The five-year survival rate for MCT is approximately 75%.