Meeting Highlights from American Thyroid Association 88th Annual Meeting

October 3-7, 2018
Marriott Marquis Washington, DC

Attracting more than 1620 health practitioners and scientists to Washington, DC, attendees at the 2018 American Thyroid Association (ATA) annual conference and expo gained insights from experts in the varied fields of endocrinology, oncology, nuclear medicine, surgery, pathology, and internal medicine.

Advances in basic, translational and clinical research were presented in symposia, oral and poster abstracts, and keynote award lectures to inform the future of thyroid patient management.

The conference objectives included:

  • Introducing sonography, cytology, and molecular testing tools to inform the diagnosis of thyroid disease as well as the impact these results will have on patient outcomes.
  • Giving consideration to current practice guidelines, including thyroid nodule staging, as well as less invasive strategies, in reevaluating treatment paradigms for thyroid disease.
  • Presenting findings from basic, translational, and clinical studies that will inform clinical management of patients with both benign and malignant thyroid nodules.
  • Identifying emerging treatment approaches in a multidisciplinary setting that accounts for patient preferences given an evolving appreciation of clinical goals.

For the many clinicians across the United States who could not attend the ATA meeting, EndocrineWeb shares highlights of several provocative presentations from keynote presentations and lecture award winners, including exclusive video commentary.

E. Michael Tuttle, MD, winner of the Lewis Braverman Lectureship Award, challenged the endocrine community to reevaluate the current approach to care as unsustainable. Diagnostic tools have become too sensitive—finding much more than can or should be considered treatment worthy. So, according to Dr. Tuttle, we have arrived at crossroads requiring a recalibration in the way clinicians evaluate diagnostic results, and how findings are shared with patients.

In effect, treatment should only be advised for actionable results_so-called treatment-worthy results—while unnecessary and unwarranted treatments should be avoided. Most importantly, there is an urgent need to revise guidelines to more accurately reflect the parameters to be valued in assessing thyroid cancer risk: namely, tumor volume, tumor growth rate (doubling rate), location, as well as patient preference. 

Common clinical thyroid cancer questions in need of better answers. In the search for efficacious, durable therapies for treatment-resistant cancers, Timothy Chan, MD, PhD,  professor of medicine and PaineWebber Chair in Cancer Genetics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell Medicine, in New York City, presented a compelling overview of the prospects for the use of combination immunotherapies to arrest or reverse advances forms of cancer, including anaplastic thyroid cancer. In this keynote address, he offers insights regarding which patients may respond to and benefit from precision immune-based therapies. Very aggressive thyroid cancers appear protected from macrophages, which presents investigators with a challenge to translate immunotherapy findings to the thyroid cancer population.  

Instrumental in initiating what has become a sea change in Graves' disease management, the Paul Starr Award Lecture, was presented by Scott Rivkees, MD, professor, and chair of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. He was recognized for his contributions to clinical thyroidology for setting the stage to achieve a goal of zero tolerance in liver injury, transplant or patient death due to unheeded drug therapy for Graves' disease. This began as an observation in children with Graves' thyroiditis but was ultimately recognized as a significant threat to both mother and fetus during pregnancy. 

 

 

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First Article From This Meeting:
Combination Immunotherapy to Treat Advanced Thyroid Cancers
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