Thyroid cancer research in the Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery is focused on understanding the full breadth of the disease, from its early stages to advanced cancer. Research is driven by clinician-investigators with profound understanding of the intricacies of thyroid cancer, head and neck anatomy and physiology, airway management, voice, and swallowing function, which require careful study and experience.
The department's integrative and collaborative research approach is uniquely facilitated by the faculty's embedded understanding of thyroid and laryngopharyngeal anatomy and physiology. Further, the Mayo Clinic's shared-management patient care strategy is at the foundation of the department's team-based approach to treating and studying this complex disease. Patient care and clinical research teams often involve multiple experts including:
- Head and neck surgeons
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Palliative care specialists
- Social workers
This team approach extends to less aggressive and more-common thyroid cancers and benign thyroid abnormalities. Clinician-investigators manage and study cancers that extend toward the larynx, pharynx and esophagus to find the best ways to maximize preservation of function while minimizing recurrence and side effects or toxicity of treatment. In the course of care, researchers have investigated surgical techniques that have resulted in multiple publications.
This collaborative approach is exemplified by the department's coordinated management of anaplastic thyroid cancer. Researchers have found that treating selected patients with surgery followed by intensity-modulated radiation therapy and — more recently — proton beam radiation therapy, as well as chemotherapy, provides significant improvement in survival. In some cases, patients have been cured.
Recently, the Division of Head and Neck Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery completed a phase II clinical trial investigating the use of immunotherapy (pembrolizumab) combined with chemoradiation therapy for anaplastic thyroid cancer. Researchers are now investigating the underlying immunology of anaplastic thyroid cancer using advanced techniques such as imaging mass cytometry in collaboration with Mayo Clinic's Immune Monitoring Core.
- Chintakuntlawar AV, Foote RL, Kasperbauer JL, Bible KC. Diagnosis and management of anaplastic thyroid cancer. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics. 2019; doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2018.10.010.
- Chintakuntlawar AV, Yin J, Foote RL, Kasperbauer JL, Rivera M, Asmus E, Garces NI, Janus JR, Liu M, Ma DJ, Moore EJ, Morris JC III, Neben-Wittich M, Price DL, Price KA, Ryder M, Van Abel KM, Hilger C, Samb E, Bible KC. A phase 2 study of pembrolizumab combined with chemoradiotherapy as initial treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer. Thyroid. 2019; doi:10.1089/thy.2019.0086.
- Foote RL, Molina JR, Kasperbauer JL, Lloyd RV, McIver B, Morris JC, Grant CS, Thompson GB, Richards ML, Hay ID, Smallridge RC, Bible KC. Enhanced survival in locoregionally confined anaplastic thyroid carcinoma: A single-institution experience using aggressive multimodal therapy. Thyroid. 2011; doi:10.1089/thy.2010.0220.
- Onkendi EO, McKenzie TJ, Richards ML, Farley DR, Thompson GB, Kasperbauer JL, Hay ID, Grant CS. Reoperative experience with papillary thyroid cancer. World Journal of Surgery. 2014; doi:10.1007/s00268-013-2379-9.
- Price DL, Wong RJ, Randolph GW. Invasive thyroid cancer: Management of the trachea and esophagus. The Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2008; doi:10.1016/j.otc.2008.08.002.