Bone metastases in thyroid cancer

Nicole M. Iñiguez-Ariza, Keith C. Bible, Bart L. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Whereas preemptive screening for the presence of lymph node and lung metastases is standard-of-care in thyroid cancer patients, bone metastases are less well studied and are often neglected in thyroid cancer patient surveillance. Bone metastases in thyroid cancer are, however, independently associated with poor/worse prognosis with a median overall survival from detection of only 4 years despite an otherwise excellent prognosis for the vast majority of thyroid cancer patients. In this review we summarize the state of current knowledge as pertinent to bony metastatic disease in thyroid cancer, including clinical implications, impacts on patient function and quality of life, pathogenesis, and therapeutic opportunities, proposing approaches to patient care accordingly. In particular, bone metastasis pathogenesis appears to reflect cooperatively between cancer and the bone microenvironment creating a “vicious cycle” of bone destruction rather than due exclusively to tumor invasion into bone. Additionally, bone metastases are more frequent in follicular and medullary thyroid cancers, requiring closer bone surveillance in patients with these histologies. Emerging data also suggest that treatments such as multikinase inhibitors (MKIs) can be less effective in controlling bone, as opposed to other (e.g. lung), metastases in thyroid cancers, making special attention to bone critical even in the setting of active MKI therapy. Although locoregional therapies including surgery, radiotherapy and ablation play important roles in palliation, antiresorptive agents including bisphosphonates and denosumab appear individually to delay and/or lessen skeletal morbidity and complications, with dosing frequency of every 3 months appearing optimal; their early application should therefore be strongly considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100282
JournalJournal of Bone Oncology
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Bisphosphonate
  • Bone metastasis
  • RANK ligand
  • Thyroid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Bone metastases in thyroid cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this