Purpose: Initial studies of combinations of radioiodine therapy (RIT) and local ablative procedures for the treatment of thyroid nodules have shown promising results. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of RIT combined with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in patients with goitres and to determine which ablative procedure is the most suitable for a combined therapy.
Methods: Thirty patients with goitres were divided into two subgroups. A test group of 15 patients received combined therapy (RIT + RFA) and a control group of 15 patients received RIT mono therapy. All patients underwent assessments including ultrasound, laboratory evaluation (T3, T4, TSH, TG, TPOAb, TgAbTRAb) and scintigraphic imaging with Tc-99m-Pertechnetate. The 3-month volume reduction was used to evaluate therapy effectiveness.
Results: Combined therapy (subgroup 1) resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) thyroid volume reduction (22.3 ± 54 ml/32.2 ± 58.2%) with better performance (p > 0.05) than the control group (20.2 ± 32.2 ml/29.6 ± 42.1%). All patients became euthyroid after treatment. No major discomfort or complications occurred. A review of the literature investigating combinations of other local ablative procedures with RIT was performed to determine the most promising combination.
Conclusions: The present study confirms the positive experiences with the combined therapy of RIT and local ablative procedures shown in the current literature and approves this approach for the treatment of goitres with RFA + RIT. These findings, when confirmed by further studies, should expand the indication of combined therapy as a minimally invasive alternative to surgery.
Keywords: Thyroid nodules; combined therapy; radiofrequency ablation (RFA); radioiodine therapy (RIT).