Radioprotective effect of vitamin E on salivary glands after radioiodine therapy for differentiated thyroid cancer: a randomized-controlled trial

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Abstract

Objectives

This study aimed to examine the radioprotective effect of vitamin E on salivary glands after radioactive iodine (131I) therapy in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer.

Patients and methods

Eighty-two patients with differentiated thyroid cancer were enrolled in this study. They were divided randomly into four groups (control group: 22 cases, group A: 23 cases, group B: 22 cases, and group C: 15 cases) before postsurgical ablation therapy with 100 mCi 131I. The patients in groups A, B, and C received vitamin E 100, 200, and 300 mg/day orally, respectively, for a duration of 1 week before to 4 weeks after 131I therapy. Salivary gland function was assessed using salivary gland scintigraphy immediately before and 6 months after 131I therapy. Uptake fraction (UF), uptake index (UI), excretion fraction (EF), and excretion ratio (ER) of each salivary gland were measured and compared.

Results

On comparison between before and after 131I therapy in the control group, there was a significant decrease in UF of both right and left parotid glands (all P<0.01). In group A, a significant increase in EF of the right parotid gland (P<0.01) and UI of the right submandibular gland (P<0.05) was found. In group B, there was a significant increase in UI of the right parotid gland and both submandibular glands (all P<0.01). In group C, there was a significant increase in UF of the left parotid gland (P<0.05) and the right submandibular gland (P<0.01). Also, there was a statistical increase in UI in both submandibular glands (all P<0.01). However, on comparing the changes in the post-131I therapy salivary scintigraphy parameters among the four groups, there was a significant difference in ΔUI of the right parotid gland (P<0.05) and both submandibular glands (all P<0.01), as well as ΔER of the left parotid gland (P<0.05) and ΔUF of the left submandibular gland (P<0.05).

Conclusion

Vitamin E exerts significant protective effects on the parotid and submandibular glands after 131I therapy.

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