Clinical Thyroidology for the Public summarizes selected research studies discussed in the previous month’s issue of Clinical Thyroidology, an official publication of the American Thyroid Association. Editor-in-chief, Alan Farwell, MD, FACE

Volume 15 Issue 6

June is Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

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Clinical Thyroidology for the Public Volume 15 Issue 6 (PDF file, 2.86 MB)



How common is thyroid cancer in the United States and is the risk of dying from this disease changing?

The number of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year in the United States increased from 1974 to 2014. However, the number of people in the United States dying each year from thyroid cancer did not change during this time period, suggesting that at least some of the new cases of thyroid cancer found each year were not actually dangerous. The research described here aims to update our knowledge of the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed and the number of people who die of this disease in the United States each year.
Megwalu UC, Moon PK 2022 Thyroid cancer incidence and mortality trends in the United States: 2000–2018. Thyroid. Epub 2022 Mar 15. PMID: 35132899.

A thyroid cancer consensus statement from the American Thyroid Association, the European Association of Nuclear Medicine, the European Thyroid Association, and the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

Thyroid cancer is common, especially in women. The major thyroid medical societies across the world have guidelines regarding treatment of thyroid cancer. An international task force has reviewed the latest evidence to develop a Consensus Statement for improving the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer.
Gulec SA et al A Joint Statement from the American Thyroid Association, the European Association of Nuclear Medicine, the European Thyroid Association, the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging on Current Diagnostic and theranostic approaches in the management of thyroid cancer. Thyroid. Epub 2021 Apr 1. PMID: 33789450.

Radioactive iodine therapy does not appear to be helpful in patients with in low-risk thyroid cancer

Thyroidectomy followed by radioactive iodine therapy used to be recommended as standard treatment in all patients with thyroid cancer. However, recent studies provide little evidence to suggest that radioactive iodine therapy may improve death related to thyroid cancer or cancer recurrence in these patients. This is the first study aimed to directly compare radioactive iodine therapy to no radioactive iodine therapy in patients with low-risk thyroid cancer after total thyroidectomy.
Leboulleux S et al 2022 Thyroidectomy without radioiodine in patients with low-risk thyroid cancer. N Engl J Med 386:923–932. PMID: 35263518.

Hypothyroidism is common among childhood cancer survivors.

A previous study has suggested that 15-20% of people who survived cancer in childhood may develop hypothyroidism later in life, which is much more common than in general population. The researchers of this study assessed how often hypothyroidism occurred in these patients, what the risk factors of developing hypothyroidism were, and how the diagnosis of hypothyroidism affected these patients.
Chemaitilly W et al 2022 Primary hypothyroidism in childhood cancer survivors: Prevalence, risk factors, and long-term consequences. Cancer 128:606–614. PMID: 34643950.

Thyroid hormone requirement in ICI-associated hypothyroidism is higher than in Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism

ICI drugs are an extremely valuable new class of drugs for the treatment of many types of cancers. A common side effect of these drugs is the development of ICI-associated hypothyroidism. This study evaluates the dose of thyroid hormone replacement required to achieve stable normal thyroid function in patients with ICI-associated hypothyroidism, as compared with those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and those without a thyroid.
Mosaferi T et al 2022 Optimal thyroid hormone replacement dose in immune checkpoint inhibitor-associated hypothyroidism is distinct from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thyroid. Epub 2022 Feb 24. PMID: 35199588.

Ultrasound-guided thermal ablation of thyroid nodules—what do the experts say about who, what, and when?

Alternative treatments to surgery for thyroid nodules are continually being developed. The newest one to generate a lot of interest is radiofrequency (RFA) ablation that uses current to generate heat to destroy cells. The goal of this statement was to develop a best practice manual of thyroid ablation techniques, including the indications for the different thyroid nodule ablation techniques, their best use, and reported outcomes.
Orloff LA et al 2021 Radiofrequency ablation and related ultrasoundguided ablation technologies for treatment of benign and malignant thyroid disease: An international multidisciplinary consensus statement of the American Head and Neck Society Endocrine Surgery Section with the Asia Pacific Society of Thyroid Surgery, Associazione Medici Endocrinologi, British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons, European Thyroid Association, Italian Society of Endocrine Surgery Units, Korean Society of Thyroid Radiology, Latin American Thyroid Society, and Thyroid Nodules Therapies Association. Head Neck 44:633–660. PMID: 34939714.