Predictive value of thyroglobulin changes for the efficacy of thyroid remnant ablation

G. Savelli, A. Chiti, M. Rodari, F. Schreiner, M. Maccauro, G. Aliberti, A. Gerali, E. Bombardieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this case-control study was to determine the utility of the evaluation of changes in serum thyroglobulin (Tg) levels before and after 131I diagnostic total body scan (TBS) in patients with thyroid cancer to predict the efficacy of radioiodine ablation. Among 134 consecutive patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) who had undergone a thyroidectomy and TBS prior to radioiodine ablation, we selected those subjects with no evidence of distant metastases and with two consecutive assessments of Tg before TBS and radioiodine ablation within a period of four weeks. With this selection procedure 27 patients (22 with papillary and five with follicular carcinomas) were included in our evaluation. The ablation therapy was considered successful when the TBS performed one year after treatment did not show any or less than 1% cervical 131I uptake, Tg levels remained below 3 ng/mL, and clinical and instrumental examinations were negative for the presence of relapses. These criteria divided the selected patients into two subsets: patients with successful radioiodine ablation and patients with residual thyroid tissue. The majority of patients with unsuccessful ablation showed an increase in serum Tg levels, while most of the patients with successful ablation showed a steady decrease in Tg concentrations. Statistical analysis evidenced that the increase in Tg levels after TBS was related to unsuccessful ablation (P ≥0.01). By contrast, the rate of thyroid remnants with 131I uptake did not show any relationship with the outcome of ablation therapy. The group of patients with increasing Tg levels after TBS had a relative risk of 3.3 of unsuccessful ablative therapy compared to the group with stable or decreasing Tg levels. This study supports the concept that by monitoring Tg levels in patients who undergo diagnostic TBS before radioiodine ablation it is possible to obtain useful information about the efficacy of 131I therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Radioiodine therapy
  • Stunning effect
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Thyroid cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictive value of thyroglobulin changes for the efficacy of thyroid remnant ablation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this