The use of recombinant thyrotropin in the follow-up of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer

Am J Med. 2002 Jun 15;112(9):721-5. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(02)01120-8.


Many clinicians care for patients who have been treated for differentiated thyroid cancer. Recombinant thyrotropin, which stimulates iodine uptake in thyroid tissue, is a safe and effective diagnostic agent for those patients who require radioiodine scanning for routine follow-up. The combination of a whole body radioiodine scan and a serum thyroglobulin measurement can identify virtually all patients with distant metastatic disease. A serum thyroglobulin >2 ng/mL and/or a positive whole body scan after recombinant thyrotropin stimulation suggest residual thyroid tissue or neoplastic disease. The use of recombinant thyrotropin has fewer adverse effects than does the alternative, which is withdrawal of thyroid hormone replacement, although nausea and headache have been reported. However, recombinant thyrotropin is expensive.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Recombinant Proteins / adverse effects
  • Thyroglobulin / blood
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Thyrotropin* / adverse effects


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroglobulin