Randomized trials on radioactive iodine ablation of thyroid remnants for thyroid carcinoma--a critique

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999 Jun 1;44(3):493-5.


Purpose: The dose of radioactive iodine ((131)I) required to ablate thyroid remnants following surgery for differentiated thyroid carcinoma is controversial. Typical administered activities range from less than 30 mCi up to 100 mCi, reflecting local practice and regulations governing allowable outpatient doses. This review examines the available randomized trials designed to assess the optimal ablative dose in this setting.

Methods and materials: The authors identified three such trials published in 1987, 1991, and 1996, and critically reviewed them from a scientific and statistical point of view.

Results: Two of these studies were small and lacked adequate statistical power to answer the question, and the third was very poorly conducted.

Conclusion: In our opinion, the appropriate dose of (131)I for ablation of thyroid remnants remains undetermined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Neoplasm, Residual
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Research Design
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Radiopharmaceuticals