Iodine kinetics were studied in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer while euthyroid under exogenous thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and while hypothyroid to detect differences in radioiodine uptake, distribution and elimination. Nine patients with total or near-total thyroidectomy on thyroid hormone suppressive therapy received two or three daily doses of 0.9 mg recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) followed by administration of a diagnostic activity of 2 mCi (74 MBq) iodine-131. After the biokinetics assessments had been performed, patients stopped taking thyroid hormones to become hypothyroid. A second 2 mCi (74 MBq) diagnostic activity of 131I was administered, followed by a second set of biokinetics assessments. One week later the patients underwent remnant ablation with a therapeutic activity of 131I. A comparison of the 131I kinetics in the patients while euthyroid and while hypothyroid showed major differences in the doses to the remnant as well as in residence times and radiation exposure to the blood. In the first diagnostic assessment the remnant dose was higher in eight of the nine patients and clearance of the activity from the blood was faster in all of them. The data from this study suggest that radioiodine administration is potent and safe when administered to euthyroid patients following rhTSH administration. Enhanced residence time in the remnant and decreased radiation exposure to the blood were noted when patients were euthyroid compared to when they were rendered hypothyroid. However, all patients received diagnostic activities in the same order: first while euthyroid, followed by hypothyroidism. It is quite possible that "stunning" from the radioiodine administered in the initial uptake study inhibited the subsequent uptake of radioiodine by the remnant lesions in the second uptake study.