Measuring thyroglobulin and thyroglobulin autoantibody in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer

Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Apr;4(4):223-33. doi: 10.1038/ncpendmet0757. Epub 2008 Feb 12.


Measurement of serum thyroglobulin is primarily used as a tumor marker in the postoperative management of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer. Unfortunately, the technical quality of current thyroglobulin assay methods varies and influences the clinical utility of this test. Two different methodologic approaches are used to measure serum thyroglobulin: the original competitive radioimmunoassay methodology and noncompetitive immunometric assay methods. Although the newer immunometric assays offer the technical benefits of eliminating the use of isotopes, using smaller specimen volumes, and having higher sensitivity potential, shorter turnaround times and the convenience of automation, immunometric assays also have a higher propensity for interference from both thyroglobulin autoantibodies and heterophilic antibodies, if present in the specimen. It is critical that physicians understand the technical limitations inherent in thyroglobulin measurement in order to effectively use this test for the postoperative management of patients with differentiated thyroid cancers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / blood*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thyroglobulin / blood*
  • Thyroglobulin / immunology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / blood*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / surgery


  • Autoantibodies
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Thyroglobulin