New research from Australia published in the journal Cancer, has shown that measuring smaller sections of genetic material from inside papillary thyroid cancer tumors can predict the chance of recurrence. High levels of two microRNAs found in tumor tissue – microRNA-222 and -146b – suggested that the cancer was more likely to recur in patients after their tumors had been surgically removed. These same microRNAs were found in the blood of these patients prior to surgery and reduced to normal following surgery. This may lead to another tool to screen for recurrence in thyroid cancer patients and may also allow a blood test prior to surgery to help determine how aggressive the cancer may be. This might be used to determine extent of surgery, especially in a disease that has such a good prognosis. Less or more surgery might be appropriate after this type of screening.
We will have to see what other developments this research leads to.