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Laryngoscope. 2006 Nov;116(11):2060-6.

Health-related quality-of-life study in patients with carcinoma of the thyroid after thyroxine withdrawal for whole body scanning.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Oncology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.



The authors studied the change of health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) in patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) with thyroxine (T4) withdrawal in preparation for whole body radioactive iodine scanning.


Seventy-eight patients with DTC and history of radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation were prospectively recruited. They completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Treatment-General (FACT-G) questionnaire on weeks 0, 2, and 4 after T4 withdrawal with corresponding checking of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).


Overall, 74.5% (58 of 78) of patients completed all FACT-G. Comparing FACT-G scores at weeks 0 and 4, "physical" (P < .001), "social" (P = .04), and "emotional" (P = .047) aspects were lowered as well as "total" HR-QOL (P = .001). However, the "functional" domain of HR-QOL was not affected (P = .14). Comparing FACT-G scores at week 0 and 2, we found that "physical" (P = .049) and "total" (P = .05) HR-QOL were affected early (in the first 2 weeks) in T4 withdrawal. Comparison of week 2 and 4 showed that in the later half of the withdrawal period, "physical" (P = .001), "emotional" (P = .02), and "total" FACT-G scores (P = .002) were affected. Mean TSH level (in mIU/L) increased gradually: 2.8 (week 0), 42.8 (week 2), 97 (week 3), and 153 (week 4). The percentage of patients attaining TSH level of >30 mIU/L were 55% (week 2), 96.2% (week 3), and 100% (week 4).


HR-QOL declines with time of T4 withdrawal. The impact is more severe in the later period of T4 withdrawal. In 3 weeks, 96.2% of our patients attained TSH level of 30 mIU/L. To minimize the impact on HR-QOL, duration of T4 withdrawal can be decreased to 3 weeks.

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