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Open access

Stéphane Bardet, Renaud Ciappuccini, Livia Lamartina, and Sophie Leboulleux


Serum calcitonin (CT) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) are valuable tumour markers in patients with medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Both markers most often evolve in parallel after treatment. Selpercatinib (LOXO-292) is a highly selective RET kinase inhibitor indicated in advanced RET-mutant MTC patients.

Cases presentation

In this study, we report two observations of RET-mutant progressive metastatic and symptomatic MTC patients who were treated with selpercatinib. Patient 1, a 61-year-old man, presented dyspnoea and diarrhoea at selpercatinib initiation with large neck lymph nodes and lung metastases. Patient 2, a 76-year-old man, had acute discomfort with flush and diarrhoea, with small but diffuse bone and liver disease. Both patients had an objective tumour response with rapid clinical improvement and RECIST 1.1 response (−90%) in patient 1. A rapid dramatic decrease in CT level was observed in both patients (−99% in both patients), while CEA levels gradually and sustainably increased after selpercatinib initiation (+207% at cycle 15 in patient 1 and + 835% at cycle 14 in patient 2). In both patients, 18FDG PET/CT did not show any abnormal uptake that could explain the CEA increase. Colonoscopy and oesogastric fibroscopy showed colonic polyposis with mild oesophagitis and gastritis in patient 1 and were normal in patient 2.


These observations show an unusual and lasting increase in serum CEA in two MTC patients who exhibited an objective tumour response to selpercatinib. The mechanism behind this unexpected rise in CEA level remains unknown. The frequency of this evolving profile will be determined in further phase III studies.

Free access

Giorgio Grani, Livia Lamartina, Valeria Ramundo, Rosa Falcone, Cristiano Lomonaco, Laura Ciotti, Martina Barone, Marianna Maranghi, Vito Cantisani, Sebastiano Filetti, and Cosimo Durante

Introduction: A taller-than-wide (TTW) shape is a suspicious feature of thyroid nodules commonly defined as an anteroposterior/transverse diameter (AP/T) ratio >1. An intraobserver variability of up to 18% in AP diameter evaluations has been described, which may lead to overreporting of this feature. To potentially improve the reliability of the TTW definition, we propose an arbitrary ratio of ≥1.2. Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the impact of this definition on diagnostic performance. Methods: We prospectively analyzed 553 thyroid nodules referred for cytology evaluation at an academic center. Before fine-needle aspiration, two examiners jointly defined all sonographic features considered in risk stratification systems developed by the American Thyroid Association (ATA), the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), the American College of Radiology (ACR TIRADS), the European Thyroid Association (EU-TIRADS), and the Korean Society of Thyroid Radiology (K-TIRADS). TTW was defined according to the current definition (AP/T diameter ratio >1) and an arbitrary alternative definition (AP/T ratio >1.2). Results: The alternative definition classified fewer nodules as TTW (28, 5.1% vs. 94, 17%). The current and proposed definitions have a sensitivity of 26.2 and 11.9% (p = 0.03) and a specificity of 83.8 and 95.5% (p < 0.001). Thus, as a single feature, the arbitrary definition has a lower sensitivity and a higher specificity. When applied to sonographic risk stratification systems, however, the proposed definition would increase the number of avoided biopsies (up to 58.2% for ACR TIRADS) and the specificity of all systems, without negative impact on sensitivity or diagnostic odds ratio. Conclusions: Re-defining TTW nodules as those with an AP/T ratio ≥1.2 improves this marker’s specificity for malignancy. Using this definition in risk stratification systems will increase their specificity, reducing the number of suggested biopsies without significantly diminishing their overall diagnostic performance.