03.06.2022 change 03.06.2022

Kielce scientists develop new paths in diagnostics and treatment of thyroid cancer

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Kielce scientists have set new paths in diagnostics and treatment of thyroid cancer with research into a therapy that is expected to be less invasive and cheaper.

Between 2001 and 2020, specialists from the Endocrinology Department of the Holy Cross Cancer Center (Świętokrzyskie Centrum Onkologii, ŚCO) carried out research on close to 500 patients with a postoperative minimal papillary thyroid cancer.

Carried out under the supervision of Dr. Aldona Kowalska, the work by Dr. Artur Kuchareczko and his team focused on the diagnosis of the co-occurrence of the BRAF V600E and TERT promoter mutations in minimal thyroid cancers.

Dr. Kuchareczko said: “My task was to collect data obtained from the genetic research on our patients, analyse these results, look at the treatment history, the course of their disease, whether the patients have been permanently cured, or had worse prognosis compared to patients without these co -existing mutations. 

“We compared our observations with reports and publications of European and American endocrine societies.”

The results turned out to be groundbreaking for diagnostics and treatment of patients with minimal papillary thyroid cancer and the work was recognized as the best scientific report of the Congress of Polish Scientific Societies 'Thyroid Cancer and Beyond’.

Head of the Endocrinology Department of the Holy Cross Cancer Centre, Dr. Kowalska, an expert in endocrinology and nuclear medicine, said: “In our research, we have shown that the c -occurrence of the BRAF V600E mutation and TERT promoter does not affect the clinical course of the minimal papillary thyroid cancer. This is a very important report, because there were on whether we should check for these two mutations in minimal cancers.”

She added: “We have shown that patients with minimal cancer and genetic mutations do not have to be treated so aggressively, because their disease is just as mild as in those who do not have these mutations.”

According to endocrinologists, this will significantly reduce diagnostic costs and, most importantly, it will no longer be necessary to use more aggressive treatment in patients who do not require it.

About 150 patients with newly recognized thyroid cancer are treated in the Endocrinology Department of the Holy Cross Cancer Center every year. Currently, over 3,500 patients with this cancer are under the care of the clinic.

Minimal thyroid cancers account for nearly 50 percent of all diagnosed thyroid cancers in Poland. This is not so much due to an increase incidence, but rather an increase in diagnosis as a result of better diagnostics, wider access to ultrasound tests and better resolution of the equipment that detects 3-4 millimetre changes.

Dr. Kowalska said: “In the time of this over-detection of tiny changes, it is very important to adjust the scope of treatment to the aggressiveness of the disease. This attitude will improve the comfort of patients' life and help to properly use the health care potential.”

For several years, based on its research and scientific publications, the Endocrinology Department of the Holy Cross Cancer Center has been limiting the aggressiveness of therapy, moving away from the radioactive iodine treatment of patients with good prognosis. 

Now, after the Congress of Polish Scientific Societies, recommendations that are already published have been expended with new elements of knowledge and modified therapy, adjusted to the severity of the disease. (PAP)

Author: Wiktor Dziarmaga

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