If you skew the endocrine system, you lose the pathways to self. When endocrine patterns change, it alters the way you think and feel. One shift in the pattern tends to trip another.
I became interested in endocrine tumors already as a student when I studied the prognostic significance of different parameters in patients with papillary thyroid cancer. Later even studies of the parathyroid glands, the adrenal glands and the endocrine intestinal tumors followed. Although endocrine tumors are often small and benign, they can be of great clinical importance because of the increased hormone production.
I learned early that genes play a major role in the development of endocrine tumors but I could not imagine how much when I started to learn molecular genetics over a 3-year period in the United States. For example, until 2000 it was assumed that about 10 % of all tumors originating from the adrenal medulla (pheochromocytoma) are hereditary. Today we know that probably at least 30 % are hereditary.
First of all, many human diseases are influenced by, if not caused by mutations in genes.
To identify genes involved in the pathogenesis of these tumors may help to develop new therapeutic modalities.