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Editorial
April 10, 2013

Molecular Testing in Thyroid Cancer: BRAF Mutation Status and Mortality

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Dr Cappola is also Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2013;309(14):1529-1530. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.3620

Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States, with an incidence that has been increasing sharply since the mid-1990s.1,2 The majority of thyroid cancers are papillary thyroid cancers (PTC), which arise from thyroid follicular cells. Papillary thyroid tumors grow slowly and often retain sufficient characteristics of thyroid follicular cells to take up iodine, allowing for treatment with radioiodine to ablate residual thyroid cancer cells in cases requiring additional therapy beyond surgery. Papillary thyroid cancer has an excellent prognosis, with 5-year survival rates of 98%.3 However, for the 7% of individuals with aggressive PTC, the natural history is unpredictable and additional therapeutic options are limited.

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