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Minerva Endocrinologica 2004 December;29(4):175-88

language: English

Immunotherapy and gene therapy of thyroid cancer

Schott M., Scherbaum W. A.


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Most forms of thyroid cancer have a good prognosis. Some tumours, however, dedifferentiate and may finally develop into highly malignant anaplastic thyroid carcinomas with a low survival time. Due to their dedifferentiation these tumours are inaccessible to classical therapeutic options as radioiodide treatment or thyrotropin-suppression. Radical surgical revision of the tumour masses is the therapy of choice of patients with limited disease stages including patients with medullary thyroid carcinomas. Despite progress in radiation and chemotherapy regimes, many metastatic forms remain, however, incurable by conventional therapies. During the past few years new developments in immunology have revealed increasing information about the molecular basis of tumour-host interactions. The multitude of information resulting from basic science in cellular immunology, together with the availability of biologic reagents in pharmacological amounts, has opened new venues for the development of immunotherapy approaches for patients with different kind of cancers including thyroid malignancies. This review describes some most important developments in cellular immunotherapies e.g. dendritic cells-based protocols and gene therapy. It also provides a brief overview on the role of cytokines and antibodies in the treatment of advanced thyroid malignancies.

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