Thyroid tumors are common neoplasms that exhibit a wide range of biologic behavior. Numerous factors have been shown to govern thyrocyte proliferation. In particular, hormones and growth factors likely play a role as promoters of tumor cell growth in genetically transformed cells. In some instances enhanced growth factors and their receptors may serve as survival signals for neoplastic cells. In other instances, however, abnormal forms of growth factor receptors (such as members of the EGF-R/HER2/neu) may also be important in the early stages of cell transformation and chromosomal instability consistent with the clonal composition of thyroid neoplasms. More detailed structure/function studies of growth factor/receptor functional interactions in morphologically characterized thyroid nodules are required. It is anticipated that these studies will identify signaling patterns that will provide the basis for the development of more specific and effective pharmacotherapeutic agents.
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