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Eur J Endocrinol. 2007 May;156(5):531-8.

Sick leave for follow-up control in thyroid cancer patients: comparison between stimulation with Thyrogen and thyroid hormone withdrawal.

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  • 1Department of Health Economics, Institut de Canc√©rologie Gustave Roussy, 39 rue Camille Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif, France.



The clinical benefits of recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone (rhTSH; Thyrogen) are well established as an alternative stimulation procedure to thyroid hormone withdrawal in the diagnostic follow-up of thyroid cancer patients. By avoiding periods of hypothyroidism, patients do not suffer from a decreased quality of life and keep their ability to work. This study compared the frequency, the duration and the cost of sick leave for follow-up control between rhTSH and withdrawal.


The study population consisted of patients with thyroid carcinoma first treated by thyroidectomy and radioiodine ablation. Patients were recruited at their control visit between October 2004 and May 2006 in three hospitals, both prospectively and retrospectively. Collection data consisted of patient information, job characteristics and duration of sick leave during the month before and the month after control. The valuation of sick leave used the friction cost method.


Among the 306 patients included, 292 (95%) completed the entire questionnaire. The mean age was 46.7 years. Among the 194 active patients, patients treated with rhTSH, when compared with patients treated by withdrawal, were less likely to require sick leave (11 vs 33%; P=0.001). The mean duration of sick leave was shorter (3.1 vs 11.2 days; P=0.002) and indirect costs due to absenteeism accounted for 454 Euro +/- 1673 vs 1537 Euro +/- 2899 for withdrawal stimulation.


For active patients, rhTSH treatment reduced the length and the cost of sick leave by 8.1 days and 1083 Euro per control respectively, when compared with withdrawal treatment.

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