Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New treatment stops nasty side effects of thyroid cancer surgery, international study shows


A new approach to therapy can avoid most of the debilitating effects of preparing for critical, postsurgical treatment for patients with thyroid cancer, according to an international study led by researchers from Johns Hopkins and the University of Pisa.

Using a genetically engineered thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) - called thyrotropin alfa, or rTSH - doctors were able to ablate, or destroy, the small amount of thyroid gland tissue that often remains after thyroidectomy, without the need to temporarily withhold thyroid hormone medication. This new approach also avoided the temporary but troubling symptoms flowing from the deficiency of thyroid hormone (or hypothyroidism), such as fatigue, weight gain, chilliness, slowed thinking, depression, constipation and muscle cramps.

The findings will be highlighted during the clinical trial symposium at the 86th annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in New Orleans, June 16-18.

"Recovery from thyroid cancer has been very difficult for patients because thyroid medication - to replace the thyroid hormone naturally produced by a healthy thyroid gland - has traditionally been withheld for four to six weeks after surgery so radioiodine could be used to identify and destroy glandular tissue that remained," said study co-lead investigator Paul Ladenson, M.D., professor and chief of the Division of Endocrinology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The study - at nine centers in North American and Europe - examined 63 patients with thyroid cancer, all of whom had thyroid removal surgery and were undergoing post-operative radioiodine therapy to ensure that all tissue was destroyed. This procedure, called remnant ablation, lowers the risk of thyroid cancer recurrence for some patients and makes for more accurate testing to detect it when it does return. It uses radioactive iodine to ablate remaining tissue and has previously required withholding of replacement thyroid hormone to allow the patient’s own levels of TSH to rise, stimulating thyroid tissue to take up the radioiodine that destroys it.

Each participant was assigned to either an experimental group or a control group. Participants in the experimental group received thyrotropin alfa while taking hormone replacement therapy to maintain a normal thyroid state. For those in the control group, hormone replacement therapy was withheld for the usual four-to-six weeks after surgery, sending them into hypothyroidism. All patients subsequently received radioiodine therapy to wipe out any remaining glandular tissue. Repeat radioiodine scans and thyroglobulin blood tests were performed eight months after surgery to assess the effectiveness of the two approaches.

For both study groups, radioiodine ablation was effective in 75 percent to 100 percent of patients - destroying all thyroid tissue, based on three different criteria. As the researchers expected, patients whose hormone therapy was withheld experienced more symptoms of hypothyroidism than patients who received the thyrotropin alfa.

"The advantage of thyrotropin alfa is that patients can remain on thyroid hormone medication while undergoing testing and not experience the symptoms of hypo-thyroidism," said Ladenson. "These results indicate that thyroid cancer patients can be treated effectively without the very unpleasant side effects that have previously been associated with temporarily withholding their thyroid hormone treatment after surgery."

The thyroid gland is located in the lower front part of the neck. It produces important hormones that the body needs to function normally. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2004, about 23,600 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. It is three times more common in women than in men. Most cases are discovered during a routine physical examination when a painless lump is found in the thyroid.

Co-authors of the study are Furio Pacini, University of Siena, Pisa, Italy; Martin Schlumberger and Carine Corone from the Institut Gustav Roussy, Paris, France; Al Driedger from London Health Sciences Centre, Canada; Richard Kloos from Ohio State University, Columbus; Steven Sherman from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Bryan Haugen from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver; and Christoph Reiners from the University of Wurzburg, Germany.

This study was funded by Genzyme Corporation of Cambridge, Mass., the manufacturer of thyrotropin alfa. Ladenson is a consultant to Genzyme. The terms of this arrangement are being managed by The Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

David March | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

nachricht Breakthrough in Mapping Nicotine Addiction Could Help Researchers Improve Treatment
04.10.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>