effects, side effects, and factors affecting therapeutic outcome
Radioiodine ((131)I) therapy of benign thyroid diseases was introduced 70 yr ago, and the patients treated since then are probably numbered in the millions. Fifty to 90% of hyperthyroid patients are cured within 1 yr after (131)I therapy. With longer follow-up, permanent hypothyroidism seems inevitable in Graves' disease, whereas this risk is much lower when treating toxic nodular goiter. The side effect causing most concern is the potential induction of ophthalmopathy in predisposed individuals. The response to (131)I therapy is to some extent related to the radiation dose. However, calculation of an exact thyroid dose is error-prone due to imprecise measurement of the (131)I biokinetics, and the importance of internal dosimetric factors, such as the thyroid follicle size, is probably underestimated. Besides these obstacles, several potential confounders interfere with the efficacy of (131)I therapy, and they may even interact mutually and counteract each other. Numerous studies have evaluated the effect of (131)I therapy, but results have been conflicting due to differences in design, sample size, patient selection, and dose calculation. It seems clear that no single factor reliably predicts the outcome from (131)I therapy. The individual radiosensitivity, still poorly defined and impossible to quantify, may be a major determinant of the outcome from (131)I therapy. Above all, the impact of (131)I therapy relies on the iodine-concentrating ability of the thyroid gland. The thyroid (131)I uptake (or retention) can be stimulated in several ways, including dietary iodine restriction and use of lithium. In particular, recombinant human thyrotropin has gained interest because this compound significantly amplifies the effect of (131)I therapy in patients with nontoxic nodular goiter.
Endocrine Reviews, 2012, Vol 33, Issue 6, p. 920-80