Molecular diagnosis of carcinomas of the thyroid gland
Our understanding of the molecular pathology of thyroid cancer has progressed significantly. It is now apparent that thyroid tumors show a very good correlation between genotype and phenotype, a correlation that is much stronger than that observed in tumors of many other organs. Activation of classic oncogenes (BRAF, RAS, RET) activate MAPK signalling. Other pathways like the PI3K/PTEN/AKT cascade are also active in many thyroid tumors. The analysis of molecular profiles is generating data that can be applied to improve patient management. The common occurrence of thyroid nodules in the general population and the widespread use of fine needle aspiration for the preoperative diagnosis of thyroid nodules creates an unprecedented opportunity to apply what we have learnt from the molecular alterations of thyroid cancer to the clinical arena.