Background: Anti thyroglobulin antibodies are present in 25% of patients treated for a differentiated thyroid cancer, invalidating thyroglobulin determination. Those patients subjected to total thyroidectomy and free of disease, should reduce the production of these antibodies, due to the lack of antigenic stimulus. Therefore, anti thyroglobulin antibodies could be useful to detect early relapses.
Aim: To assess the relationship between anti thyroglobulin antibodies and the evolution of the disease in patients treated for thyroid cancer.
Material and methods: Retrospective analysis of 26 patients treated for thyroid cancer with positive anti thyroglobulin antibodies, followed for three years. These were divided in those with or without lymphocytic thyroiditis (19 and 7 respectively).
Results: At the first year of follow up, anti thyroglobulin antibody concentration was 401 +/- 94.9 UI/ml (x +/- sem) in patients with thyroiditis and 38.9 +/- 8.9 UI/ml in those without thyroiditis (p < 0.005). During the three years of follow up, no differences in anti thyroglobulin antibodies were observed between patients with or without tumor relapse.
Conclusions: Concentration of anti thyroglobulin antibodies was higher in patients with thyroiditis and did not differentiate patients with tumor relapse.