Radiation dose assessment in radioiodine therapy. Dose-response relationships in differentiated thyroid carcinoma using quantitative scanning and PET

M E O'Connell, M A Flower, P J Hinton, C L Harmer, V R McCready
Radiotherapy and Oncology 1993, 28 (1): 16-26
Dose-response charts have been constructed to determine the tumouricidal dose for differentiated thyroid carcinoma metastases and thus enable precise activities of radioiodine to be prescribed in order to maximise tumour kill and minimise morbidity. Tumour and normal residual thyroid absorbed doses from radioiodine-131 have been determined with increased precision using a dual-headed whole-body rectilinear scanner with special high-resolution low-sensitivity collimators. Improved accuracy in the estimation of functioning tumour mass has been achieved using positron emission tomography (PET) with a low-cost large area PET camera. Dose-response data have been obtained for 33 patients. Following near-total thyroidectomy and 3.0 GBq 131I, a mean absorbed dose of 410 Gy achieved complete ablation of thyroid remnants in 75% of patients. Patients who had persistent uptake in the thyroid region on subsequent radioiodine scanning had received a mean dose of only 83 Gy. Cumulative absorbed doses in excess of 100 Gy were found to eradicate cervical node metastases. Patients with bone metastases, who generally have a poor prognosis, were found to have received doses of the order of only 20 Gy to the tumour deposits. The dose-response data explain the spectrum of clinical responses to fixed activities of radioiodine. In future, they will enable precise prescription of radioiodine to achieve tumouricidal doses whilst avoiding the morbidity and expense of ineffective therapy.

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