ABBREVIATIONS & DEFINITIONS
Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC): includes papillary and follicular thyroid cancer.
Cancer recurrence: this occurs when the cancer comes back after an initial treatment that was successful in destroying all detectable cancer at some point.
Iodine: an element found naturally in various foods that is important for making thyroid hormones and for normal thyroid function. Common foods high in iodine include iodized salt, dairy products, seafood and some breads.
Radioactive iodine (RAI): this plays a valuable role in diagnosing and treating thyroid problems since it is taken up only by the thyroid gland. I-131 is the destructive form used to destroy thyroid tissue in the treatment of thyroid cancer and with an overactive thyroid. I-123 is the non-destructive form that does not damage the thyroid and is used in scans to take pictures of the thyroid (Thyroid Scan) or to take pictures of the whole body to look for thyroid cancer (Whole Body Scan).
Radioactive iodine uptake (RAIU): this is a measurement of thyroid tissue activity, either normal or cancerous, and is reported as the percent of a dose of radioactive iodine that is retained in the thyroid tissue 24 h after the dose is given.
Targeted therapy (TTx): drugs that specifically attack the cancer cells without damaging the normal cells, thus resulting in fewer side effects.
Mutation: A permanent change in one of the genes.
Cancer-associated genes: these are genes that are normally expressed in cells. Cancer cells frequently have mutations in these genes. It is unclear whether mutations in these genes cause the cancer or are just associated with the cancer cells. The cancer-associated genes important in thyroid cancer are BRAF, RET/PTC, TERT and RAS.
BRAF gene: this is a gene that codes for a protein that is part of a chain of molecules working together to signal the cells when to grow and divide. Mutations in the BRAF gene in adults appear to cause cancer. Dabrafenib and vemurafenib are anticancer drugs that target the mutated BRAF proteins within the cancer cells, thus slowing down the cancer growth.
MEK 1 and 2: are proteins located further down the chain of molecules in the BRAF pathway. Trametinib is an anticancer drug that targets these proteins, thus affecting the cancer growth.
Sialadenitis: inflammation of salivary gland.