J Endocrinol Invest 2002 Jan;25(1):44-52
Radioiodine ablation and therapy in differentiated thyroid cancer under
stimulation with recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone.
Berg G, Lindstedt G, Suurkula M, Jansson S.
We investigated whether recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) safely and effectively induces uptake of high-dose 131-iodine (131I) to ablate thyroid remnant or treat disease, in patients with well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Eleven consecutive patients unable to tolerate thyroid hormone withdrawal received one im injection of 0.9 mg rhTSH on 2 consecutive days before receiving 4000 MBq (approximately 108 mCi) radioiodine orally. Eight patients received one, and 3 patients 2 courses. Our series comprised 7 women and 4 men (mean age, 78 yr, range: 56-87 yr). Ten patients had undergone total or near-total thyroidectomy up to 19 yr earlier. rhTSH-stimulated single course radioiodine with the intention to ablate thyroid remnant was performed in 3 patients, with following estimation of radioiodine uptake and TG measurements. Of another 8 patients given this treatment palliatively, 5 had radiological, clinical and/or laboratory response, including: 80% decreased pathological uptake between treatment courses; pronounced decrease in bone pain; diminished symptoms; improved physical condition and quality of life; lower serum TG concentration; and/or normalization of TG recovery test. Two patients with small lung metastases on computed tomography had no detectable radioiodine uptake or other response; they also lacked uptake after withdrawal-stimulated radioiodine treatment. Despite being elderly and frail, patients generally tolerated treatment well; rhTSH caused nausea in one patient and transiently increased pain in bone and soft tissue lesions in another. We conclude that rhTSH-stimulated high-dose radioiodine for remnant ablation or tumor treatment is safe, feasible and seemingly effective, enhancing quality of life and offering reasonable palliation in patients with advanced disease.