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Mario Rotondi, Valentina Capelli, Francesca Coperchini, Sara Pinto, Laura Croce, Massimo Tonacchera and Luca Chiovato

Design

Graves’ disease (GD) patients in remission after a full course of methimazole (MMI) therapy are at risk for a relapse of hyperthyroidism during the post-partum (PP) period, but whether this relapse may display any peculiarity is still unknown. Aim of this study was to compare GD patients undergoing a relapse of hyperthyroidism either in the PP period or not.

Methods

We retrospectively evaluated forty-three GD female patients in their childbearing age who experienced a relapse of hyperthyroidism. Eighteen of them relapsed in the PP period (i.e. within 12 months after delivery, PP group); the remaining 25 relapsed elsewhere during life (NPP group).

Results

Age at relapse, thyroid volume, thyroid function tests, TRAb titers, smoking habit, presence and degree of orbitopathy and duration of methimazole (MMI) treatment did not differ in the two groups. However, the remission rate was much greater (79%) in the PP as compared with the NPP (32%) group (P = 0.002). A significant reduction in TRAb levels occurred at 12-month MMI treatment in the PP (F = 9.016; P = 0.001), but not in the NPP group (F = 2.433; NS). At 12 months, the PP group had significantly lower mean TRAb levels (0.6 ± 1.1 U/L and 4.5 ± 4.7 U/L in the PP and the NPP group, respectively; P = 0.029).

Conclusions

Relapsing Graves’ hyperthyroidism in the PP period is more prone to undergo a remission after a second course of MMI treatment. In these patients, a conservative therapeutic approach is more appropriate.

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Mario Rotondi, Gloria Groppelli, Laura Croce, Francesco Latrofa, Giuseppe Ancona, Francesca Coperchini, Daniela Pasquali, Carlo Cappelli, Alessandro Fugazza, Valeria Guazzoni, Giorgio Radetti and Luca Chiovato

Objective:

The association between chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) and differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) remains controversial. The incidence of DTC increases when screening procedures are implemented, as typically occurs in CAT patients being routinely submitted to thyroid ultrasound (US). The aim of this study was to longitudinally evaluate the long-term development of DTC in patients with CAT.

Design and methods:

A retrospective longitudinal cohort study was designed. For the study, 510 patients with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) with a 10-year follow-up were enrolled. Patients were divided in two groups according to the presence (CAT+ NOD+; n = 115) or absence (CAT+ NOD−; n = 395) of co-existent nodules at diagnosis. The main outcome measures were appearance of new thyroid-nodules and development of DTC during follow-up.

Results:

During a 10-year median follow-up period, new thyroid-nodules were detected in 34/115 (29.5%) patients in the CAT+ NOD+ group and in 41/395 (10.3%) in the CAT+ NOD− group (P < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis showed that thyroid-volume at diagnosis and belonging to the CAT+ NOD+ group significantly predicted the appearance of a new thyroid nodule during follow-up, independently of baseline age and sex. Among the 75 patients experiencing the appearance of a new nodule, 27 (39%) met the criteria for fine-needle-aspiration-cytology (FNAC). A benign cytological diagnosis was rendered in all cases.

Conclusions:

In our series of CAT patients, the appearance of new thyroid-nodules was frequent, but none of them were found to be malignant. The presence of CAT appears to be associated with a negligible risk of developing clinically overt DTC.