Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Since 1975, six families with the MEN-2A syndrome including 66 patients have been identified in The Netherlands. All these patients underwent thyroidectomy for C-cell hyperplasia and/or medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC); eight were symptomatic (Group A), 51 were relatives of patients found to be affected (Group B), and seven had had a negative screening test that became positive (Group C). To assess the effect of screening, we compared these groups with respect to the occurrence of metastatic MTC at thyroidectomy and the results of the postoperative calcitonin (CT) tests. We found that 87% of Group A, 37% of Group B; and none of Group C had metastatic disease at surgery. The "cure rates" in these three groups with MEN-2A, as determined by stimulated CT measurement, was 0%, 51%, and 100%, respectively. From these results it may be concluded that screening can lead to the detection of MTC at an earlier stage which in turn could permit curative treatment and improvement of both prognosis and life expectancy. The need for supervision of affected families by central registration to guarantee the continuity of screening is stressed.