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Cancer is a disorder of the genome. The thyroid cancer genome is being decoded. Recent studies have identified a mutation or a genetic alteration in 95% of thyroid cancers. The National Cancer Institute initiated the Cancer Genome Atlas project in 2006 to catalogue genetic mutations associated with cancer, using genome sequencing and bioinformatics. The project has expanded to carry out genomic characterization and sequence analysis of thyroid cancer. The concept of risk stratification based on traditional parameters will soon vacate their role for clear molecular markers of non-invasive/focal, invasive/ metastatic and systemic stages/phases of neoplastic disorder. A refined classification scheme based on genomics and its phenotypic expressions will accurately reflect the biologic differences between the different morphologic definitions we use today. Tumor differentiation/de-differentiation, and clinical behavior of an individual cancer will be defined by molecular markers, in addition to standard morpho-pathology. Empiricism in science of medicine and surgery has acquired a new method for testing the appropriate treatment for individual patients; that is molecular pathology, governed by genomics. The technology is present and rapidly evolving. The surgeons will determine the extent of interventions with molecular evidence and guidance.


Originally published in Molecular Imaging and Radionuclide Therapy.

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