Higher preablative serum thyroid-stimulating hormone level predicts radioiodine ablation effectiveness in patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma

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Radioiodine ablation of remnant thyroid tissue is an important adjuvant therapy of differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) after thyroidectomy. Elevated serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level is necessary for successful ablation. The optimum level of serum TSH level necessary for successful radioiodine ablation of well-DTC is, however, yet to be defined. We aimed to determine whether higher serum TSH level will result in a better rate of complete ablation of well-DTC using iodine-131 (131I) following initial thyroidectomy.

Patients and methods

A total of 109 patients with differentiated thyroid cancer were divided into four treatment groups on the basis of serum TSH levels. They were followed up from 6 to 12 months after treatment with stimulated serum thyroglobulin level and a diagnostic whole-body scan with radioactive iodine 131I to determine early response.


Sixty-four patients had papillary thyroid carcinoma, whereas 45 patients had follicular carcinoma. An excellent response was observed in 66.7% of patients with TSH level more than 90 μIU/ml, 72.2% in the group with TSH level of 60–89 μIU/ml, 48.5% when TSH was 30–59 μIU/ml and 26.7% when TSH was less than 30 μIU/ml (P=0.002).


Higher preablative serum TSH predicts a better rate of ablation in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer treated with 131I after thyroidectomy.

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