Radioiodine post-surgical remnant ablation in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer: news from the last 10 years

E Molinaro, L Pieruzzi, D Viola
Journal of Endocrinological Investigation 2012, 35 (6): 16-20
Due to the growing incidence of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) and in particular of small papillary thyroid cancer observed in the last few decades, the indications, the activity of radioiodine (131I) to be administered, and the efficacy of post surgical thyroid 131I remnant ablation (RRA) have been widely discussed. In the last 10 years, the use of recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) or thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW) to stimulate the 131I remnant uptake has also interested many authors. The general agreement is that small (≤1 cm) intrathyroidal unifocal DTC with a favorable histology and no node metastases should not be submitted to RRA because of the low risk of relapse and cancer specific mortality. Conversely, RRA is indicated in patients with a higher risk level since it seems to reduce recurrence rates and mortality. The recent demonstration that the RRA preparation with rhTSH is as effective as THW using either high (100 mCi) or low (30 mCi) 131I activities suggests that rhTSH preparation and low activity of 131I should be considered as the standard of care for both low- and intermediate-risk DTC patients in the near future. Moreover, the use of low 131I activities and rhTSH reduces whole body radiation exposure and improves the quality of life which are very important advantages for DTC patients.


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