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Papillary Thyroid Cancer: Radiation induced versus Genetic Causes


Carcinoma of the Thyroid is clinically acknowledged to be a rare malignancy and contributing for less than 1 per cent of all human malignant neoplasms although it is the most common amongst cancerous growths in the human endocrine system. Apart from the conventional form of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma (PTC), a selection of some special variants are categorised in accordance with their manifestation and cell organisation in the tumour architecture, some variants being more aggressive than the conventional type. PTC originates in follicular cells of the thyroid tissue and is associated with a prior exposure to external ionising radiation or high intake of iodine. However, therapeutic treatment with radioactive iodine, unless excessive, has not been observed to increase the incidence of thyroid cancers. Persistent research aimed at an intuitive understanding of the causative factors behind papillary thyroid carcinoma has also led to a better appreciation of the pathogenesis involved in the disease. A significant increase in incidence of paediatric papillary thyroid cancer ensued the Chernobyl accident that has been attributed categorically to external radiation exposure.


Measures to dovetail the interpretations of the results from the numerous studies taking into consideration the demographic and genetic factors are not easy to think through. Additional detail is essential to fully elucidate the patterns of papillary thyroid carcinogenesis. On the whole, a scrutiny of the studies relating to mutation in the case of the Chernobyl thyroid malignancies reveals that a possible marker for the aetiology has not yet been established to categorically distinguish the patterns of gene expression in radiation-induced papillary thyroid cancers and sporadic papillary thyroid cancers.

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