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Endocrine Oncology Branch

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Overview

The ultimate goal of the Endocrine Oncology Branch (EOB) is to establish an integrated basic, translational and clinical research program with the goal of developing innovative diagnostic and prognostic approaches, and treatments for endocrine cancers. This goal is consistent with the mission of the Center for Cancer Research to: 1) Understand the cause and mechanism of cancer, 2) Improve early detection and diagnosis of cancer, 3) Understand the factors that influence cancer outcomes, and 4) Develop effective and efficient treatments for patients with cancer.

The Endocrine Oncology Branch is comprised of researchers who have specialized training and an interest in endocrine malignancies. The Branch incorporates the major functions of clinical research, clinical care, and clinical training in pursuit of treating patients with endocrine cancers. The EOB routinely handles referrals from medical centers across the United States and overseas, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institute of Digestive, Diabetes and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), and the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD). All patients are enrolled on CCR clinical protocols, and all care is provided at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Background
While the incidence and mortality of most cancers has decreased, the incidence of endocrine cancers (thyroid, neuroendocrine pancreas) has increased dramatically, with significant gender disparity (thyroid), and with an increase (thyroid) or no significant improvement (adrenal, neuroendocrine, parathyroid) in mortality rates. There is even more of a pressing need to develop effective therapy for patients with rare and neglected endocrine cancers such as anaplastic thyroid cancer and adrenocortical carcinoma as the outcome of patients with these cancers has not improved in nearly 6 decades.

Incidentally detected endocrine neoplasms today encompass an even larger number of patients who require evaluation to exclude a cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, current clinical, biochemical and imaging tests, and cytologic analysis of biopsy samples are commonly inconclusive. Thus, approximately 300,000 patients annually in the U.S. undergo an invasive procedure for definitive diagnosis on histologic examination. This results in significant morbidity and mortality, and health care expenditure as only about 5-30% of these patients are found to have a malignant endocrine tumor on histology, which in some types of endocrine neoplasms is still not reliable (pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma, pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, adrenocortical tumors) in rendering a definitive diagnosis and patients require continued follow up with imaging studies and biochemical testing annually.

Thus, the goals of the Endocrine Oncology Branch are to:

*Establish new and improved methods, strategies, technologies, and algorithms for the diagnosis of endocrine neoplasms

*Identify the molecular basis for endocrine cancers and the pathways involved

*Discover new molecular and genetic markers for developing better diagnosis and novel targets for treatment of metastatic and advance endocrine cancers or biomarkers which could predict prognosis/response to therapy

*Facilitate the implementation of newly available diagnostic techniques and treatment options, including the initiation of new clinical trials

*Facilitate new and improved intramural, national and international collaborations and interdisciplinary studies and team approaches

*Facilitate the establishment of national and international databases/networks, the organization of national and international patients and health care professional conferences to improve awareness and understanding of endocrine cancers

*Educate young scientist and clinical investigators, and train physician-scientists.

Affiliate Investigators/Collaborators

NCI
Sheue-yann Cheng, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Antonio Tito Fojo, M.D.,Ph.D., Medical Oncology Branch

NIDDK
Monica Skarulis, M.D.
Francesco Celi, M.D.

NICHD
Constantine A. Stratakis, M.D., D.Sc.
Karel Pacak, M.D., Ph.D.,D.Sc.

This page was last updated on 9/18/2013.