Post-surgical ablation of thyroid residues with radioiodine in Ukrainian children and adolescents affected by post-Chernobyl differentiated thyroid cancer

V Oliynyk, O Epshtein, T Sovenko, M Tronko, R Elisei, F Pacini, A Pinchera
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation 2001, 24 (6): 445-7
Post-surgical ablation of thyroid residues with 131-iodine (131-I) is usually recommended after near-total thyroidectomy in high-risk patients, including children, with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). We report here the results of post-surgical radioiodine thyroid ablation in 249 children and adolescents of Ukraine with post-Chernobyl DTC initially treated with near-total thyroidectomy at the Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism in Kiev, during a 2-year period. The patients' age at the time of the Chernobyl accident (1986), ranged from <1 to 14 yr in 223 subjects (children) and from 15 to 18 yr in 26 subjects (adolescents). Six weeks after surgery a diagnostic 131-I whole body scan revealed the presence of residual thyroid tissue in all cases. All patients received one or more courses of radioiodine therapy, for a total of 468 courses. One hundred and twenty-nine out of 249 patients (51.8%) were successfully ablated. The total number of treatment courses needed in these patients was 219. Most patients required multiple doses of radioiodine, only 63 required a single dose. One hundred and twenty patients (48.2%) treated with radioiodine were not ablated and are still under treatment program. The clinical features and the amount of thyroid residue were not different in ablated or not-ablated patients. Our results indicate that in this particular population of post-Chernobyl thyroid carcinomas, thyroid ablation is a rather difficult task. Only 51.8% were successfully ablated. Possible explanation for this finding may be the young age of the patients, other particular features of post-Chernobyl thyroid carcinoma or technical aspects, such as less radical surgical procedures.

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