Accepted Preprint (first posted online 31 October 2016)

    Animal models of medullary thyroid cancer: state of the art and view to the future

    1. Annamaria Al Colao
    1. G Vitale, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health , University of Milan, Milan, Italy
    2. G Gaudenzi, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health , University of Milan, Milan, Italy
    3. L Circelli, Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Viral Oncology, Istituto Nazionale per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori, "Fondazione Pascale" , Naples, Italy
    4. M Manzoni, Department of Endocrinology and Internal Medicine, Endocrine Tumors Unit, San Raffaele Hospital Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy
    5. A Bassi, Department of Physics, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
    6. N Fioritti, Department of Biosciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
    7. A Faggiano, Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery Unit, Istituto Nazionale per lo studio e la cura dei tumori "Fondazione G. Pascale" - IRCCS, Naples, Italy
    8. A Colao, Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology, Federico II University, Napoli, Italy
    1. Correspondence: Giovanni Vitale, Email: vanni10{at}


    Medullary thyroid carcinoma is a neuroendocrine tumour originating from parafollicular C cells accounting for 5-10% of thyroid cancers. Increased understanding of disease-specific molecular targets of therapy has led to the regulatory approval of two drugs (vandetanib and cabozantinib) for the treatment of medullary thyroid carcinoma. These drugs increase progression free survival, however, they are often poorly tolerated and most treatment responses are transient. Animal models are indispensable tools for investigating the pathogenesis, mechanisms for tumour invasion and metastasis, and new therapeutic approaches for cancer. Unfortunately, only few models are available for medullary thyroid carcinoma. This review provides an overview of the state of the art of animal models in medullary thyroid carcinoma and highlights future developments in this field, with the aim of addressing salient features and clinical relevance.

    • Received 5 September 2016
    • Revision received 18 October 2016
    • Accepted 24 October 2016
    • Accepted Preprint first posted online on 31 October 2016