This study was carried out in order to investigate the possible detrimental effects on bone of levothyroxine (L-T4) suppressive therapy in female patients who had undergone surgery for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Twenty female (14 premenopausal and 6 postmenopausal) patients receiving L-T4 suppressive therapy for DTC were studied. The sample was selected in such a way as to avoid factors influencing bone metabolism other than L-T4. All patients were monitored by sensitive thyroid-stimulating hormone, free triiodothyronine and free thyroxine assays throughout the follow-up. Nineteen healthy (12 premenopausal and 7 postmenopausal) matched women served as controls. In all subjects bone turnover was evaluated by the measurement of global skeletal uptake of technetium-99m methylene diphosphonate (GSU); bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by quantitative computed tomography at the lumbar spine (LS) and by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry both at the LS and at three femoral sites: the femoral neck, Ward's triangle and the greater trochanter. No significant difference was found in either GSU or BMD between patients (treated for an average period of 68 months) and controls in the whole sample or in any subgroup. Furthermore, no correlations were found between either GSU or BMD and the duration of therapy, daily doses of L-T4 or results of thyroid function tests. Our data show that carefully monitored L-T4 therapy does not influence skeletal turnover (directly reflected by GSU) or the bone density of the spine and femur.
- Bone mineral density
- Bone turnover
- Global skeletal uptake
- Thyroxine suppressive therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging