New Molecular Test Panel to Enhance Reliability of Thyroid Biopsy Testing

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Dr. Babak Larian, thyroid expert, discusses thyroid biopsy testing

Because of the limitations of the current test methods, many patients have had a perfectly healthy thyroid gland removed. Hopefully the new molecular test panel will help enhance the reliability of thyroid biopsy testing

Quest Diagnostics, a leading provider of diagnostic testing, recently announced a new molecular
test panel designed to help physicians determine if a thyroid gland is cancerous and requires surgical removal.

About 300,000 thyroid FNA biopsy procedures are performed annually in the United States, and approximately 15-20% of thyroid biopsies produce indeterminate results. An unclear result may increase the risk that a physician will biopsy additional tissue using a larger needle, or surgically removing part or all of a thyroid suspected of having cancer that is later diagnosed as healthy, just to be cautious.

“Because of the limitations of the current test methods, many patients have had a perfectly healthy thyroid gland removed. Hopefully the new molecular test panel will help enhance the reliability of thyroid biopsy testing, and prevent future unnecessary removal of healthy thyroids,” says Beverly Hills thyroid specialist, Dr. Babak Larian.

The new panel identifies mutations of the molecular markers BRAF V600E, RAS, RET/PTC, and PAX8/PPAR gamma, which are associated with papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, two common forms of the disease. A recent study found that 60% of FNA specimens had mutations of one or more of the four markers tested by the new panel. According to the American Cancer Society, about two tests in every ten may need to be repeated because the sample does not contain enough cells for testing.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the front lower area of the neck. It is responsible for releasing hormones that regulate growth, metabolism, and heart rate. Problems with the thyroid can trigger unpleasant symptoms and, if untreated, result in serious damage to multiple systems in the body.

Dr. Babak Larian, the Chairman and the Director of the CENTER for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery in Los Angeles, is a highly experienced and reputable board-certified surgeon, specializing in ear, nose and throat surgery. Dr. Larian is nationally renowned for his expertise in minimally invasive surgery techniques in the treatment of sinus, thyroid, parathyroid, salivary glands and throat disorders. Visit http://www.advancedonc.com for more information.

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