ONCAlert | 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting

Dr. Sylvia Asa on Thyroid Cancer Genotyping

Sylvia Asa, MD, PhD
Published Online: 7:13 PM, Tue October 20, 2015

Dr. Sylvia Asa, MD, PhD, pathologist with the Toronto General Hospital/Research Institute (UHN) and a professor at the University of Toronto, discusses genotyping and the role it can play in diagnosing and selecting targeted treatments for thyroid cancer.


Targeted therapies based on genetic mutations are a more recent phenomenon in thyroid cancers, but pathologists have recognized phenotypes of thyroid cancer for more than 50 years that are based on genotypic findings but that don’t require the genotype to make a diagnosis, prognosis, or to determine predictive therapy, says Asa.


BRAF has emerged as the most common genetic mutation in thyroid cancer. However, unlike in most other BRAF-mutated cancers, BRAF-mutated thyroid cancers do not seem to respond well to targeted therapies. Understanding epigenetic changes may play an important role in better treating thyroid cancer, says Asa.

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