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February 1990

Thyroglobulin Measurement vs Iodine 131 Total-Body Scan for Follow-up of Well-Differentiated Thyroid Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, Pa.

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(2):437-439. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00390140135028

• Measurement of the serum thyroglobulin level may be more sensitive than total-body scan using sodium iodide 131 for detecting recurrences from well-differentiated thyroid cancer. We have evaluated the merit of these two methods through a retrospective chart review of patients followed up at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa. We found that in 17 (45%) of 38 follow-up visits, the presence of interfering antibodies prevented the measurement of serum thyroglobulin levels. Furthermore, such determination was less sensitive than iodine 131 total-body scan in detecting residual thyroid tissue and/or cancer in the neck area. We concluded that iodine 131 total-body scan is the preferable method of follow-up, particularly when the goal of therapy is complete ablation of thyroid tissue.

(Arch Intern Med. 1990;150:437-439)