Endocrinol Metab.  2017 Sep;32(3):326-331. 10.3803/EnM.2017.32.3.326.

Epigenetic Modifications: Novel Therapeutic Approach for Thyroid Cancer

  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. chengs@mail.nih.gov


The incidence of thyroid cancer is growing the fastest among all cancers in the United States, especially in women. The number of patients with thyroid neoplasm is part of an even larger number of patients who often need to undergo an operation to exclude a cancer diagnosis. While differentiated thyroid cancer (papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer) accounts for most cases of thyroid cancer and has a relatively good prognosis, effective treatments for patients with de-differentiated and anaplastic thyroid cancer are still gravely needed. Despite progress in the identification of genetic changes in thyroid cancer, the impact of aberrant epigenetic alterations on thyroid cancer remains to be fully elucidated. Understanding of the roles of epigenetic changes in thyroid cancer could open new opportunities for the identification of innovative molecular targets for novel treatment modalities, especially for anaplastic thyroid cancer for which treatment is very limited. This article briefly reviews the studies that exemplify the potential for and promise of using epigenetic regulators in the treatment of thyroid cancer.


Thyroid neoplasms; BET proteins; BET protein inhibitors; JQ1; Histone deacetylases; Histone deacetylase inhibitors; Epigenomics; Chromatin modifications
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