JOURNAL ARTICLE

Short-term outcome of differentiated thyroid cancer patients receiving a second iodine-131 therapy on the basis of a detectable serum thyroglobulin level after initial treatment

Leonardo Pace, Michele Klain, Carmine Albanese, Barbara Salvatore, Giovanni Storto, Andrea Soricelli, Marco Salvatore
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2006, 33 (2): 179-83
16205897

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness of high-dose 131I therapy administered only on the basis of raised serum Tg levels.

METHODS: Among patients treated with total or near-total thyroidectomy and 131I ablation, 76 (54 women and 22 men) with differentiated thyroid cancer (41 with follicular and 35 with papillary cancer) showed a detectable (i.e. >1.5 ng/ml) serum Tg level on L: -thyroxine therapy during follow-up and were included in the study. In these patients, a further 131I therapy was scheduled (range 3.7-9.25 GBq, mean 6.087+/-1.705). Five to seven days after this radioiodine therapy, patients underwent 131I post-therapy whole-body scan (131I t-WBS). The serum Tg value at 12 months after 131I therapy was evaluated as an indicator of short-term response to radioiodine.

RESULTS: At evaluation after 12 months, 21 (27.6%) of the 76 patients had a Tg value < or =1.5 ng/ml, 12 (15.8%) showed a Tg decrease of at least 50%, 22 (29%) had only a minor decrease in Tg (<50%) and 21 (27.6%) did not show any decrease in Tg. 131I t-WBS was positive in 52 patients (68%, group A) and negative in 24 (32%, group B). Normalisation of Tg was observed in 15 patients (29%) of group A and in six patients (25%) of group B. Overall, 23 (44%) patients of group A and ten (42%) of group B showed a > or =50% decrease in the Tg. Of the 52 patients of group A, 19 (36%) had local recurrence at 131I t-WBS, 18 (35%) showed lung involvement and 15, (29%) bone metastasis. On a patient basis, two (13%) of 15 patients with bone metastases, six (33%) of 18 patients with lung involvement and seven (37%) of 19 patients with local recurrence had Tg values at follow-up of < or =1.5 ng/ml (p NS). Overall, seven (37%) patients with local recurrence, eight (44%) with lung involvement and eight (53%) with bone metastases showed a > or =50% decrease in Tg.

CONCLUSION: The findings of the present study suggest that the administration of therapeutic 131I only on the basis of elevated Tg levels has a definite therapeutic effect, at least in the short term. In addition, the possibility of obtaining a post-therapeutic 131I WBS can lead to better strategy definition for these patients.

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