Decreased uptake of therapeutic doses of iodine-131 after 185-MBq iodine-131 diagnostic imaging for thyroid remnants in differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Eur J Nucl Med. 1998 Mar;25(3):242-6. doi: 10.1007/s002590050223.


We performed a prospective random study to assess possible thyroid stunning by a 185-MBq iodine-131 dose used to diagnose thyroid remnants. Patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma were included after total or near-total thyroidectomy. They were randomly assigned to two groups. In group 0 (G0, 32 patients), iodine-123 administration only was used to diagnose thyroid remnants and/or metastasis, so that no thyroid stunning by 131I would occur. In group 1 (G1, 19 patients), diagnostic imaging was performed with 123I and 185 MBq 131I. 123I imaging was less sensitive than 131I imaging in identifying thyroid remnants in both groups (94%). Thyroid uptake of 123I was measured in both groups (at 2 h) and was not significantly different between the groups. Patients with thyroid remnants who remained in the study (28/32 in G0, 17/19 in G1) were treated with 370 MBq 131I, 5 weeks after treatment (mean time, range 12-84 days). In 12/17 G1 patients thyroid uptake measurement was repeated immediately before treatment. Uptake was equal to 1.97% +/- 0.71% and significantly lower (P < 0.05) than the previous measurement (3.76% +/- 1.50%). Patients were imaged 7 days after administration of the therapeutic dose and the images were compared with the diagnostic images. In 28/28 G0 patients thyroid remnants were unchanged and clearly seen. In 5/17 G1 patients, however the remnants were hardly identified, although they had been clearly seen at the time of diagnosis. We conclude the following: (1) a diagnostic dose of 185 MBq 131I decreases thyroid uptake for several weeks after administration and can impair immediate subsequent 131I therapy; (2) 123I is slightly less sensitive than 131I in identifying thyroid remnants; and (3) the need to scan for thyroid remnants remains to be confirmed, since only 2/51 patients enrolled in this study were not treated with 131I.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Papillary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Papillary, Follicular / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Thyroid Function Tests
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Thyroidectomy


  • Iodine Radioisotopes