What is follicular carcinoma in patients with thyroid cancer?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Pramod K Sharma, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Follicular carcinoma is the second most common thyroid malignancy and represents about 10% of thyroid cancers. Follicular carcinoma represents an increased portion of thyroid cancers in regions where dietary intake of iodine is low. Similar to papillary carcinoma, follicular carcinoma occurs 3 times more frequently in women than in men. Patients with follicular carcinoma are typically older than those with papillary carcinoma at presents. The mean age range at diagnosis is late in the fourth to sixth decades.

Like papillary carcinomas, follicular carcinomas arise from the follicular cells of the thyroid. The neoplastic cells are TSH sensitive as well, taking up iodine and producing thyroglobulin—a feature that is exploited diagnostically and therapeutically (see Postoperative radioiodine scanning and ablation below).

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