Efficacy of radioiodine therapy in the treatment of elevated serum thyroglobulin in patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma and negative whole-body iodine scan

Mohsen Saghari, Ali Gholamrezanezhad, Sahar Mirpour, Mohammad Eftekhari, Abbas Takavar, Armaghan Fard-Esfahani, Babak Fallahi, Davood Beiki
Nuclear Medicine Communications 2006, 27 (7): 567-72

INTRODUCTION: In the management of patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma, serum thyroglobulin levels are often well correlated with whole-body radioiodine scanning (WBS) results. However, occasionally, a mismatched result - increased thyroglobulin with negative WBS - is observed. Radioiodine therapy has been suggested as a therapeutic choice with controversial results.

METHOD: We studied 32 differentiated thyroid carcinoma patients with elevated thyroglobulin level and negative WBS who had been treated with high-dose radioiodine. With a mean follow-up of 25.6 months (all follow-ups >11 months), thyroglobulin and thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, WBS, clinical, radiographic and pathological findings following treatment were recorded.

RESULTS: The mean pre-therapy off-treatment thyroglobulin was 152 +/- 119.0 Although there was a mild trend towards an increase in thyroglobulin in the first post-treatment year, the difference was not significant. At the end of the follow-ups, 22 patients (68.7%) were categorized as non-responders to radioiodine therapy (any change or elevation of thyroglobulin or radiological and pathological evidences of progression), four patients (12.5%) as partial responders (transient reduction but not a normalization of thyroglobulin) and six patients (18.7%) as responders (normalization of thyroglobulin with no evidence of remnant disease). In nine of 10 partial and complete responders, reduction or normalization of thyroglobulin had occurred in the first post-treatment year.

CONCLUSION: We recommend that in differentiated thyroid carcinoma patients with elevated thyroglobulin and negative WBS, at least one course of radioiodine therapy should be undertaken and if reduction or normalization of serum thyroglobulin is not achieved, repeated courses of radioiodine therapy are not logical and other therapeutic methods should be applied.

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