Differentiated thyroid cancer: External beam radiotherapy
- James D Brierley, MB, BS, FRCP, FRCR, FRCPC
James D Brierley, MB, BS, FRCP, FRCR, FRCPC
- Department of Radiation Oncology
- University of Toronto, Canada
- Section Editor
- Douglas S Ross, MD
Douglas S Ross, MD
- Section Editor — Thyroid Disease
- Professor of Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
- Deputy Editors
- Jean E Mulder, MD
Jean E Mulder, MD
- Senior Deputy Editor — Endocrinology
- Instructor in Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
- Diane MF Savarese, MD
Diane MF Savarese, MD
- Senior Deputy Editor — UpToDate
- Deputy Editor — Oncology and Palliative Care
- Clinical Instructor of Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
Surgical resection is the primary treatment for patients with differentiated (ie, papillary and follicular) thyroid cancer, followed by radioiodine and then thyroxine therapy. Most patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer have resectable tumors, and the results from surgery, radioiodine, and thyroxine therapy are excellent.
External beam radiotherapy (EBRT) is used infrequently in the management of differentiated thyroid cancer. It is predominantly indicated for palliation of locally advanced unresectable or metastatic disease in patients whose tumors do not concentrate radioiodine. The role of EBRT in other settings is less certain.
The use of EBRT in the treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer will be reviewed here. Other aspects of the management of differentiated thyroid cancer are discussed separately, as is the role of EBRT in other thyroid malignancies, such as lymphoma and anaplastic as well as medullary thyroid cancer.
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