Long-Term Outcomes of Tamoxifen Citrate Therapy and Histo- and Immunopathological Properties in Riedel Thyroiditis

Eur Thyroid J. 2021 Jun;10(3):248-256. doi: 10.1159/000512017. Epub 2020 Dec 8.


Background: Riedel thyroiditis (RT) is a rare form of thyroiditis; thus, data about the disease course and treatment options are limited. Therefore, we aimed to assess the clinical, serological, radiological, and histopathological features, as well as short- and long-term follow-up of RT patients under glucocorticoid (GC) and tamoxifen citrate (TMX). Parameters related to IgG4-related diseases (IgG4-RD) were also investigated.

Methods: Eight patients with RT diagnosed between 2000 and 2019 were enrolled. Data were collected in a retrospective and prospective manner. The diagnosis was confirmed with histopathological features in all patients. Results of the treatment with GCs on short- to mid-term, followed by TMX in the long term, were evaluated.

Results: The mean age at diagnosis was 40.5 ± 6.8 years; female predominance was observed (F/M:7/1). Parameters related to IgG4-RD, like increase in IgG4 serum levels, total plasmablast counts, and IgG4+ plasmablasts, were negative in most of our patients in both active and inactive states of the disease. Likewise, an increased ratio of IgG4/IgG-positive plasma cells >40% could only be observed in 2 cases. GCs followed by TMX were given to the patients with an over-all median follow-up time of 67 (8-216) months. All the patients considerably improved clinically and had a reduction in the size of the mass lesion on GCs, followed by TMX therapy. None of the patients had a recurrence under TMX therapy for a median period of 18.5 (7-96) months.

Conclusion: Even though RT is suggested to be a member of IgG4-RD, serologic or histological evidence of IgG4 elevation or positivity is only useful for diagnosis and follow-up of RT. The diagnosis should be based on clinical and radiological evidence and confirmed by histopathology. GCs are effective for initial treatment, and TMX is a successful and safe therapeutic option for long-term maintenance therapy.

Keywords: Immunoglobulin G4-related disease; Intercellular adhesion molecule-1; Plasmablast; Riedel thyroiditis; Tamoxifen citrate; Transforming growth factor beta.