Medullary carcinoma of thyroid

  • Definition

    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.


    Alternative Names

    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
    • Thyroid lymphoma