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Thyroid. 2018 Jul;28(7):871-879. doi: 10.1089/thy.2018.0080.

Changing Trend of Thyroglobulin Antibodies in Patients With Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Treated With Total Thyroidectomy Without 131I Ablation.

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1 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Unit of Endocrinology, University of Pisa , Pisa, Italy .
2 Department of Surgical, Medical, Molecular Pathology and Critical Area, Anatomic Pathology Section, University of Pisa , Pisa, Italy .
3 Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health , Phoenix, Arizona.



Thyroglobulin (Tg) antibodies (TgAb) can interfere with Tg measurement and can be used as "Tg surrogate" in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) treated with total thyroidectomy (TTx) and radioiodine remnant ablation (RRA). In contrast, few data, and in patients usually followed for a short-term follow-up, have been reported about the changes of TgAb levels in patients treated with TTx but without RRA. The aims of this study were to evaluate the changes of TgAb levels in DTC patients treated with TTx but not RRA and to identify the factors that influence these changes.


The change in TgAb levels in 107 DTC (<1 cm) patients submitted to TTx but not RRA was evaluated. Patients were followed for a median of 6.3 years, and all had at least three determinations of TgAb and neck ultrasound (nUS).


TgAb levels showed a progressive decrease during follow-up. Initial TgAb levels and degree of lymphocytic infiltration influenced the time but not the rate of TgAb disappearance. No influence on time and rate of the decrease in TgAb was observed when the association with thyroperoxidase antibodies (TPOAb) levels were considered. A TgAb cutoff value of 61.9 IU/mL at first postoperative evaluation was a good indicator for disappearance of the TgAb within six years. No tumor recurrence was observed in the series. In one case, the progressive increase in TgAb anticipated the reappearance of benign thyroid tissue with lymphocytic infiltration.


TgAb levels decline in the majority of DTC patients treated with TTx but not ablated with radioiodine. The levels decrease rapidly after the surgical treatment and continue to decrease over time. The time of disappearance is influenced by the initial TgAb levels and the degree of lymphocytic infiltration. No influence of the actual TPOAb levels has been observed. An increase in TgAb levels should not be overlooked, since it can indicate the presence or reappearance of either normal thyroid tissue or tumor recurrence.


differentiated thyroid cancer; lymphocytic thyroiditis; radioiodine ablation; thyroglobulin; thyroglobulin antibodies

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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