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F Lippi, M Capezzone, F Angelini, D Taddei, E Molinaro, A Pinchera, and F Pacini

OBJECTIVE: This study tested the hypothesis that administration of human recombinant thyroid-stimulating hormone (rhTSH: Thyrogen, thyrotropin alpha) could promote iodine-131 ((131)I) uptake in the therapy for metastatic or locally invasive differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), obviating L-thyroxine suppressive therapy (L-T4) withdrawal and hypothyroidism in patients with advanced disease. METHODS: Twelve totally (or almost completely) thyroidectomized adults, nine of whom had received earlier therapy after L-T4 withdrawal, underwent (131)I treatment while euthyroid on L-T4, after rhTSH administration. Nine underwent diagnostic whole-body scanning (WBS) after two consecutive daily i.m. injections (0.9 mg) of rhTSH. They then received an identical second course of rhTSH to promote therapeutic (131)I uptake. Post-therapy WBS was performed one week later. Three patients received only rhTSH (131)I therapy. RESULTS: Administration of rhTSH promoted (131)I uptake in all patients, as demonstrated by post-therapy WBS. Administration of rhTSH also promoted a significant increase in serum thyroglobulin (Tg) concentrations. According to the most recent measurements, 3-12 months after therapy, serum Tg levels fell in four, and stabilized in two out of eleven patients. Upon additional rhTSH-WBS 8 months post-study, a reduction in one metastatic site was noted in one patient. The rhTSH was well tolerated, with mild, transient fever and/or nausea occurring in only a minority of patients. Individuals with bone metastases experienced degrees of peritumoral pain and swelling that were similar (though more short-lived) to those seen in the same or other patients after L-T4 withdrawal. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of rhTSH is a safe, successful tool for inducing (131)I uptake in local and metastatic DTC lesions, and avoids L-T4 withdrawal, preserving metabolic homeostasis and preventing the debilitating effects of hypothyroidism.

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E. Martino, L. Bartalena, S. Mariotti, F. Aghini-Lombardi, C. Ceccarelli, F. Lippi, M. Piga, A. Loviselli, L. Braverman, M. Safran, and A. Pinchera

Abstract. Amiodarone, an iodine-rich drug, represents at the present, at least in Europe, one of the most common sources of iodine-induced thyroid dysfunction. The drug may induce both hypothyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. In spite of the large iodine intake occurring during amiodarone therapy, 131I thyroid uptake is detectable in patients with amiodarone-iodine-induced hypothyroidism, irrespective of the presence or absence of underlying thyroid disease. In contrast, in patients with amiodarone-iodine-induced thyrotoxicosis, 131I thyroid uptake is normal or even elevated in those with co-existent underlying thyroid disorders, whereas it is very low in those with an apparently normal thyroid gland. Perchlorate discharge test was performed in 8 patients with hypothyroidism and in 5 patients with hyperthyroidism induced by amiodarone: a positive test was found in all hypothyroid patients and a negative test in all hyperthyroid patients.