The role of radioactive iodine in salivary gland dysfunction

K A Newkirk, M D Ringel, L Wartofsky, K D Burman
Ear, Nose, & Throat Journal 2000, 79 (6): 460-8
The use of radioactive iodine has become an important adjunct to the treatment of thyroid cancer. Many normal tissues--including salivary glands, gastrointestinal mucosa, gonads, and lactating breast tissue--have the ability to concentrate radioactive iodine under normal circumstances. Although the mechanism is just beginning to be elucidated, it is this ability that might contribute to the immediate and long-term complications associated with radioactive iodine treatment. In some patients, the salivary complications can be permanent and might compromise daily functioning. In this article, we examine the salivary gland complications associated with radioactive iodine therapy, and we suggest potential protective mechanisms to circumvent these problems.

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