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H Gharib, E Papini and R Paschke

In 2006, two major society-sponsored guidelines and one major consensus statement for thyroid diagnosis and management were published by: the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists/Associazione Medici Endocrinologi (AACE/AME); the American Thyroid Association (ATA); and the European Thyroid Association (ETA). A careful review of these guidelines reveals that despite many similarities, significant differences are also present, likely reflecting differences in practice patterns, interpretation of existing data, and availability of resources in different regions. The methodology of the guidelines is similar, but a few differences in the rating scale make a rapid comparison of the strength of both evidence and recommendations difficult for the use in current clinical practice. Some recommendations are based mostly on experts' opinion. Thus, a same recommendation may be based on a different evidence; on the other hand, sometimes the same evidence may induce a different recommendation. Therefore, efforts are needed to produce a few high-quality clinical studies to close the evidence gaps in the still controversial fields of thyroid disease and to create a joint task force of the most authoritative societies in the field of thyroid disease in order to reach a common document for clinical practice recommendations.

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M Chianelli, V Todino, F M Graziano, C Panunzi, D Pace, R Guglielmi, A Signore and E Papini

Objective

(a) To compare the efficacy of low-activity (2 GBq; 54 mCi) 131I ablation using l-thyroxine withdrawal or rhTSH stimulation, and (b) to assess the influence of thyroid remnants volume on the ablation rate.

Design

Patients underwent neck ultrasound, 131I neck scintigraphy and radioiodine uptake. Post-therapy whole body scan (WBS) was acquired after 4–6 days. Ablation was assessed after 6–12 months by WBS, Tg and TgAb following l-thyroxine withdrawal.

Methods

Group A: preparation by L-T4 withdrawal (37 days); 21 patients received 131I (2.02±0.22 GBq; 54.6±5.9 mCi) and on the day of treatment, TSH, Tg, TgAb were measured; Group B: stimulation by rhTSH; 21 patients received 131I (1.97±0.18 GBq; 53.2±4.9 mCi) 24 h after the second injection of rhTSH (0.9 mg) and TSH, Tg and TgAb were measured after 2 days.

Results

At follow-up, 90.0% of patients from group A and 85.0% of patients from group B had Tg levels <1 ng/ml; no uptake was observed in 95.2% and in 90.5% of patients from group A or B respectively, with no statistical differences for both ablation criteria. Before 131I treatment, small thyroid remnants (<1 ml) were detected by US in <25% of all patients.

Conclusions

The use of rhTSH for the preparation of low-risk patients to ablation therapy with low activities of 131I (2 GBq; 54 mCi) is safe and effective and avoids hypothyroidism. The presence of thyroid remnants smaller than 1 ml at US evaluation had no effect on the ablation rate.

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M Terzolo, A Stigliano, I Chiodini, P Loli, L Furlani, G Arnaldi, G Reimondo, A Pia, V Toscano, M Zini, G Borretta, E Papini, P Garofalo, B Allolio, B Dupas, F Mantero and A Tabarin

Objective

To assess currently available evidence on adrenal incidentaloma and provide recommendations for clinical practice.

Design

A panel of experts (appointed by the Italian Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AME)) appraised the methodological quality of the relevant studies, summarized their results, and discussed the evidence reports to find consensus.

Radiological assessment

Unenhanced computed tomography (CT) is recommended as the initial test with the use of an attenuation value of ≤10 Hounsfield units (HU) to differentiate between adenomas and non-adenomas. For tumors with a higher baseline attenuation value, we suggest considering delayed contrast-enhanced CT studies. Positron emission tomography (PET) or PET/CT should be considered when CT is inconclusive, whereas fine needle aspiration biopsy may be used only in selected cases suspicious of metastases (after biochemical exclusion of pheochromocytoma).

Hormonal assessment

Pheochromocytoma and excessive overt cortisol should be ruled out in all patients, whereas primary aldosteronism has to be considered in hypertensive and/or hypokalemic patients. The 1 mg overnight dexamethasone suppression test is the test recommended for screening of subclinical Cushing's syndrome (SCS) with a threshold at 138 nmol/l for considering this condition. A value of 50 nmol/l virtually excludes SCS with an area of uncertainty between 50 and 138 nmol/l.

Management

Surgery is recommended for masses with suspicious radiological aspects and masses causing overt catecholamine or steroid excess. Data are insufficient to make firm recommendations for or against surgery in patients with SCS. However, adrenalectomy may be considered when an adequate medical therapy does not reach the treatment goals of associated diseases potentially linked to hypercortisolism.