Evaluation Studies
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
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Effectiveness of retinoic acid treatment for redifferentiation of thyroid cancer in relation to recovery of radioiodine uptake.

BACKGROUND: Retinoic acid (RA) treatment has been used for redifferentiation of metastatic thyroid neoplasia that have lost radioiodine (131I) uptake with heterogeneous results.

AIM: Retrospective analysis of the recovery rate of 131I uptake after RA treatment in patients from 11 Spanish hospitals.

METHODS: Twenty-seven patients (14 men, 13 women) with papillary [21], follicular [4], and oncocytic [2] thyroid cancer initially treated with total thyroidectomy plus 131I, and with 131I negative metastatic disease, were given 13-cis RA (0.66-1.5 mg/kg for 5-12 weeks) followed by a therapeutic 131I dose (3700-7400 MBq); 3 months later thyroglobulin levels and computed tomography imaging were performed.

RESULTS: In 9 out 27 cases (33%) (8 papillary, 1 follicular) optimal positive 131I scan was observed after RA treatment; in the remaining 18, 10 had a suboptimal uptake (7 papillary, 2 follicular, 1 oncocytic) and in the rest there was no 131I uptake recovery (6 papillary, 1 follicular, 1 oncocytic). In 17 positive responses to RA (either optimal or suboptimal) in which image follow-up was available, decrease or stabilization of metastatic growth was observed in 7, while tumor mass increased at short term in the remaining 10. No major side effects were detected.

CONCLUSION: Quite a high rate of 131I uptake recovery after RA treatment may be obtained in advanced differentiated thyroid cancer, but the potential modification of the natural course of the disease is uncertain. A better biological characterization of these tumors allowing the identification of potential responders to RA may improve the outcome of RA coadjuvant therapy.

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