[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 5, 1957


JAMA. 1957;163(1):15-20. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970360017004

• The clinical uses of the radioactive isotope I131 are exemplified in the histories of three patients. Thyroid tissue examined after surgical removal indicated colloid-producing adenocarcinoma in two patients and papillary adenocarcinoma in one; all three had metastases to lymph nodes. I131 given for diagnostic purposes became concentrated in the carcinomatous tissues if they were of the colloidproducing type and if there was no normal thyroid tissue to compete with them. Lesions that do take up the isotope can be localized by a motorized radiation detector that scans the suspected area systematically and produces a tracing called the scintigram. Unexpected metastases have been discovered by this means when they were not apparent by other methods of examination. Lesions in which the I131 becomes concentrated are affected by its radiation. In one case a single therapeutic dose of the I131 obliterated all of the functioning metastatic thyroid carcinoma. It is impossible, however, to tell whether the associated nonfunctioning metastatic elements of this tissue have also been eradicated. Surgery is the treatment of choice for both the primary and the metastatic tumors whenever it can safely be carried out.