Commentary

TC is one of the most well studied endocrine neoplasms at the molecular level. It also expresses a remarkable repertoire of ligands, cognate receptors, and downstream effectors, thus representing a "model malignancy" for the investigation of the molecular pathobiology of cancer cell signaling. In this chapter, we focused specifically on the description of the signal transducing receptors at the level of the cell membrane, their cognate ligands, the post-receptor downstream elements propagating the signal, as well as known or suspected "final effectors" of each pathway. We also presented in global terms the functional connections among various key molecules, as well as the current theories on the relevance of these signaling systems to TC formation, progression, and biological behavior. It is our belief that intimate knowledge of the elements of these systems and their interaction with other constituents of the cell proliferation machinery (cell cycle, protein synthesis and degradation, gene transcription) increases their potential as future targets for therapy, especially in the context of TC patients harbor disease currently refractory to standard treatment modalities.

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