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March 1988

Thyroglobulin Assays in the Postoperative Management of Differentiated Thyroid Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (Dr Harley), and Internal Medicine-Endocrinology Division (Drs Daly and Hodge), Clinical Investigation Department, Naval Hospital, San Diego.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(3):333-335. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860150115028

• Carcinoma of the thyroid gland is the most common endocrine malignancy managed by the head and neck surgeon. Accepted therapy for differentiated macroscopic (>1 to 1.5 cm) lesions is total or near-total thyroidectomy, followed by radioactive iodine treatment. Followup care usually consists of annual total body scan to rule out the presence of metastatic disease. Thyroglobulin, which is elaborated only by thyroid cells, either normal or metastatic, serves as a tumor marker when all functioning tissue has been ablated. The routine use of thyroglobulin assays obviates the expense and inconvenience of an annual scan. This article reviews the usefulness and limitations of serum radioimmune assays in the postoperative management of differentiated thyroid cancer. We also present several representative cases treated at our institution.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1988;114:333-335)