Thyroid Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about thyroid cancer and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about thyroid cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

  • New treatments. Clinical trials for thyroid cancer include testing new medications, including drugs known as targeted therapy. As explained in Types of Treatment, targeted therapy is a treatment that targets specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. In addition, researchers are looking at new combinations of chemotherapy and other treatments for all stages and types of thyroid cancer.

  • Molecular tumor testing. Investigations are underway to fine-tune diagnosis and predict treatment outcomes based on the molecular biology of the tumor. Molecular biology is the study of the structure and function of cells at the molecular level. For example, genetic testing and the refinement of RET oncogenes (see Risk Factors) is an ongoing area of active research. Further knowledge in this area will improve how treatment options are chosen and give more precise prognosis.

  • Data collection. There are efforts underway to create volunteer registries of people with a history of thyroid cancer. This can help doctors research this disease in the future. Participants are asked to provide information, tissue samples, or blood and urine sample.

  • Palliative and supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current thyroid cancer treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like more information about the latest areas of research in thyroid cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance on how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.