Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid is cancer of the thyroid gland that starts in cells that release a hormone called calcitonin. Such cells are called "C" cells.
Thyroid - medullary carcinoma; Cancer - thyroid (medullary carcinoma); MTC
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The cause of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (MTC) is unknown.
Unlike other types of thyroid cancer, MTC is less likely to be caused by radiation therapy to the neck given to treat other cancers during childhood.
There are two forms of MTC:
- Sporadic MTC, which does not run in families. Most MTCs are sporadic. This form mainly affects older adults.
- Inherited MTC runs in families.
You have an increased risk of this type of cancer if you have:
- A family history of MTC
- A family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN)
- A prior history of
pheochromocytoma, mucosal neuromas, or hyperparathyroidism
Other types of thyroid cancer include:
Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid Follicular tumor of the thyroid Papillary carcinoma of the thyroid
Review Date: 03/02/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.