Epithelial thyroid cancers are represented by the differentiated papillary and follicular thyroid carcinomas which, following dedifferentiation, are thought to give rise to the highly aggressive and incurable anaplastic thyroid carcinomas. Although derived from the same cell type, the different thyroid tumors show specific histological features, biological behavior and degree of differentiation as a consequence of different genetic alterations. Over the last few years, our knowledge regarding the molecular alterations underlying thyroid cell malignant transformation and cancer progression has considerably increased; however, the prognosis of differentiated thyroid cancer patients still relies on high-risk clinic-pathological variables. In particular, the actual staging systems provides only a rough prediction for cancer mortality and risk of recurrences, including in each risk group patients with highly different tumor-specific progression, disease-free interval and survival time. In order to improve DTC patient's risk stratification, both the European and the American Thyroid Associations proposed practical guidelines to integrate the actual staging systems with additional clinical features such as the tumor histological variant, the results of post-ablative whole body scan and the serum thyroglobulin levels. Despite that, patients within the same risk group still show a very heterogeneous behavior in terms of disease-free interval. As a consequence, the identification of new prognostic molecular biomarkers able to testify tumor aggressiveness is highly required. Here we'll review recently characterized new molecular markers potentially able to ameliorate the prognosis in DTC patients.
Link to access full article: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24862669