[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 2, 1981

Thyroid Function After Mantle Irradiation in Hodgkin's Disease

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine (Drs Smith, Adler, and Tulloh), Pathology (Dr Brinck-Johnsen), and Community Medicine (Dr Colton), Dartmouth Medical School, and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, NH. Dr Smith is now with the Department of Radiation and Medical Oncology, South Carolina Baptist Hospital, Columbia. Dr Tulloh is now with the Ottawa Cancer Clinic, Ottawa, Ontario.

JAMA. 1981;245(1):46-49. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310260024022

We studied the thyroid function of 64 patients with Hodgkin's disease who received mantle irradiation during the period 1966 to 1976. More than two thirds (44 of 64) had some thyroid dysfunction. Twenty had mild dysfunction manifested by an abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone. Twenty had what could be termed compensated hypothyroidism while four were overtly hypothyroid. The severity of dysfunction was not related to age, sex, or chemotherapy. We found, however, that decreased thyroid function was inversely proportional to the length of time between a diagnostic lymphangiogram and the radiation therapy. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the iodine load of the lymphangiogram renders the thyroid gland more radiosensitive. Thyroxine suppression of the thyroid gland during the period from the lymphangiogram through the termination of radiation therapy is suggested as a means of avoiding thyroid injury.

(JAMA 1981;245:46-49)