Long-Term Follow-up of Patients With Autonomous Thyroid Nodules Treated With Radioiodine

Clin Nucl Med. 2024 Jun 1;49(6):529-535. doi: 10.1097/RLU.0000000000005189. Epub 2024 Apr 12.


Purpose: This article aims to describe the presentation of Plummer disease and its evolution after radioiodine treatment and determine factors that may influence treatment efficacy.

Patients and methods: The sample included retrospective medical records of 165 adult patients with toxic nodular goiter treated with radioiodine between 1997 and 2017, followed up at a single thyroid center.

Results: The efficacy of treatment with a single dose of radioiodine was higher than 90%. The mean radioiodine activity was 28.9 ± 3.4 mCi. The mean time between radioiodine performance and hyperthyroidism resolution was 3.6 ± 3.0 months, ranging from 1-12 months. After the first year, 33.9% of the patients were under hypothyroidism, 59.4% under euthyroidism, and 6.7% under hyperthyroidism. Among the nonresponders, the variables that showed statistical difference were the presence of multinodular goiter and the radioiodine activity (mean, 25.5 ± 6.5 mCi; median, 30 [15-30 mCi]). The cumulative rate of hypothyroidism was 48.9% over 20 years of follow-up.

Conclusions: Radioiodine therapy is an effective and safe treatment. In Plummer disease, high rates of euthyroidism are expected after the radioiodine treatment. Therapeutic failure was observed mainly in patients with larger multinodular goiters treated with lower doses of radioiodine. The evolution to hypothyroidism was mostly observed in younger patients with larger and uninodular goiters.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes* / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Nodule* / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Nodule* / radiotherapy
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Iodine Radioisotopes