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Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal

Abstract

Screening for medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) in France is based on a protocol that has been widely distributed nationally. A network of coordinators utilizing a common questionnaire provides for an effective national screening program. Calcitonin stimulation procedures are systematically used for all first-degree relatives of MTC patients. Pathological studies utilize special immunopathologic techniques. Genealogic information is obtained on all index cases, and blood specimens are collected for establishing permanent cell lines. The data collected are used not only to establish the diagnosis of the hereditary or sporadic form of the disease but also to expand the screening as appropriate. This common protocol has benefited patients and their families by improving early detection of cases, increasing the number of families available for follow-up, and improving the prognosis of this cancer. Studies on these families have contributed significantly to the localization of the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 gene.

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