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  • Author: Brigitte Decallonne x
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Free access

Mathieu Spaas, Brigitte Decallonne, Annouschka Laenen, Jaak Billen, and Sandra Nuyts

Objective: The prognostic value of stimulated thyroglobulin (sTg) and Tg-related parameters prior to and immediately after radioactive iodine (RAI) administration was assessed in a cohort of patients presenting with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) as a predictor of recurrent or progressive structural disease. Methods: Clinical records of 180 DTC patients were retrospectively reviewed, and serum TSH, Tg, and Tg antibodies were recorded just before RAI administration (pre-) and at the time of whole body scanning (post-). Based on the results of initial staging and RAI scintigraphy, patients were divided into two groups: those who were considered to be structurally disease-free after thyroidectomy and RAI (group 1) and those who were not (group 2). Univariate analyses were performed for pre-Tg, ratioTg (post-Tg/pre-Tg), and other clinical and pathological markers for long-term outcome, as well as separate bivariate analyses focusing on pre-Tg to correct for possible confounders. Different pre-Tg cut-off values for predicting structural disease recurrence were assessed in a subgroup of patients in group 1 prepared with thyroid hormone withdrawal. Results: In group 1, (n = 166) male gender, higher T-stage and both Tg-related parameters proved to be significant risk factors for structural disease relapse. Of all candidate variables, only higher T-stage served to predict progressive structural disease in group 2 (n = 14). Subgroup analysis showed a negative predictive value of 91.67% for pre-Tg < 10 µg/L. Conclusion: The sTg value at the time of RAI administration may be helpful in predicting structural disease recurrence in patients with DTC.

Free access

Brigitte Decallonne, Annick Van den Bruel, Gilles Macq, Nathalie Elaut, and Harlinde De Schutter

Objective: Regional variation in thyroid cancer incidence in Belgium, most pronounced for low risk cancer, was previously shown to be related to variation in clinical practice, with higher thyroid surgery rates and lower proportions of preoperative fine-needle aspiration (FNA) in regions with high thyroid cancer incidence (period 2004–2006). The objective of this study was to investigate regional thyroid cancer incidence variation in relation with variation in thyroid surgery threshold in a more recent Belgian thyroid cancer cohort. Methods: A population-based cohort of thyroid cancer patients that underwent a (near) total thyroidectomy in the period 2009–2011 (n = 2,329 patients) was identified and studied by linking data from the Belgian cancer registry and the Belgian health insurance companies, and case-by-case study of the pathology protocols. The execution of preoperative FNA and the thyroid resection specimen weight were compared between high and low thyroid cancer incidence regions. Thyroid weight in the pT1a-restricted group was studied as a proxy for surgical threshold for benign nodular goiter. Furthermore, time trend analyses were performed for the execution of FNA for the period 2004–2012. Results: Although a lower proportion of FNA in the high thyroid cancer incidence region persisted in the period 2009–2011 (41.2% [31.9–50.9] vs. 72.9% [64.9–79.7] in the low-incidence region (LIR), p < 0.001), a positive time trend was observed for the period 2004–2012. The median thyroid surgical specimen weight was lower in the high incidence region compared to the LIR (27.0 g [IQR 18.0–45.3] vs. 36.0 g [IQR 22.0–73.0], p < 0.0001), and this finding was corroborated in the pT1a-restricted group. Conclusion: Interregional differences in use of FNA and surgical thyroid specimen weight are consistent with an inverse relation between thyroid cancer incidence and thyroid surgery threshold, carrying risk for overdiagnosis.

Free access

Tanja Diana, Christian Wüster, Paul D. Olivo, Angelica Unterrainer, Jochem König, Michael Kanitz, Artur Bossowski, Brigitte Decallonne, and George J. Kahaly

Background: The measurement of TSH receptor (TSHR) antibodies is warranted for diagnosis of Graves’ disease (GD). Objective: The performance, detection sensitivity, and specificity of 6 TSHR immunoassays were compared. Methods: Two bioassays and 4 binding assays (Kronus, Immulite, Kryptor, Dynex) were compared in a dilution study performed in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. Both bioassays were compared to 2 binding assays using stimulatory (M22) and blocking (K1–70) monoclonal antibody (MAb) mixtures. Results: Thirty samples from stimulatory (TSAb)-positive/blocking (TBAb)-negative patients with GD were diluted serially and measured in all assays. Samples were positive until dilution 1:2,187 in the TSAb bioassay, 1:81 in the Immulite (p < 0.002 vs. bioassay) and Kronus ELISA (p = 0.039) assays, and 1:27 in the Kryptor and Dynex ELISA (p < 0.001 vs. bioassay). Ten samples from TBAb-positive/TSAb-negative patients with GD or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis were positive in all binding assays. None of the binding assays differentiated between TSAb and TBAb. Mixtures of 100% K1–70 (200 ng/mL), 80% K1–70 + 20% M22, 60% K1–70 + 40% M22, 40% K1–70 + 60% M22, 20% K1–70 + 80% M22, and 100% M22 (20 ng/mL) tested positive in both Immulite (26.4, 20.2, 15.2, 10.5, 6.3, 2.00 IU/L) and Kronus assays (27.1, 23.3, 19.3, 12.0, 5.7, 2.2 IU/L). These MAb mixtures were tested in the TBAb bioassay and showed 82, 61, 24 (negative), –26 (negative), –77 (negative), and –95% (negative) inhibition, respectively. Conclusions: The sample dilution study showed higher detection sensitivity for the TSAb bioassay, and the antibody mixture study demonstrated exclusive specificity of the bioassays over all automated and ELISA binding assays.

Open access

Sébastien Verdickt, Falco Van Nes, Carolien Moyson, Toon Maes, Paul Van Crombrugge, Annick Van den Bruel, and Brigitte Decallonne


We investigated whether a positive thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPO Ab) status before radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy in patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism is a predictive factor for developing hypothyroidism post RAI.


We performed a retrospective study of patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism with known TPO Ab status, receiving the first administration of RAI. Patients from four thyroid outpatient centres in Belgium receiving their first RAI therapy between the years 2011 and 2019 were studied. Clinical, laboratory, imaging, and treatment data were recorded from medical charts. Hypothyroidism and cure (defined as combined hypo- and euthyroidism) were evaluated in period 1 (≥2 and ≤9 months, closest to 6 months post RAI) and period 2 (>9 months and ≤24 months post RAI, closest to 12 months post RAI).


A total of 152 patients were included of which 105 (69%) were TPO Ab-positive. Compared to TPO Ab-negative patients, TPO Ab-positive patients were younger, had a larger thyroid gland, and had more previous episodes of hyperthyroidism. In period 1, 89% of the TPO Ab-positive group developed hypothyroidism and 72% in the TPO Ab-negative group (P = 0.007). In period 2, the observation was similar: 88% vs 72% (P = 0.019). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, a positive TPO Ab status was associated with hypothyroidism in period 2 (adjusted OR: 4.78; 95% CI: 1.27–20.18; P = 0.024). In period 1, the aOR was 4.16 (95% CI: 1.0–18.83; P = 0.052).


A positive TPO Ab status in patients with Graves’ hyperthyroidism receiving the first administration of RAI is associated with a higher risk of early hypothyroidism.

Open access

Ilaria Muller, Carla Moran, Beatriz Lecumberri, Brigitte Decallonne, Neil Robertson, Joanne Jones, and Colin M. Dayan

Thyroid dysfunction (TD) frequently occurs as an autoimmune complication of immune reconstitution therapy (IRT), especially in individuals with multiple sclerosis treated with alemtuzumab, a pan-lymphocyte depleting drug with subsequent recovery of immune cell numbers. Less frequently, TD is triggered by highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or patients undergoing bone-marrow/hematopoietic-stem-cell transplantation (BMT/HSCT). In both alemtuzumab-induced TD and HIV/HAART patients, the commonest disorder is Graves’ disease (GD), followed by hypothyroidism and thyroiditis; Graves’ orbitopathy is observed in some GD patients. On the contrary, GD is rare post-BMT/HSCT, where hypothyroidism predominates probably as a consequence of the associated radiation damage. In alemtuzumab-induced TD, the autoantibodies against the thyrotropin receptor (TRAb) play a major role, and 2 main aspects distinguish this condition from the spontaneous form: (1) up to 20% of GD cases exhibit a fluctuating course, with alternating phases of hyper- and hypothyroidism, due to the coexistence of TRAb with stimulating and blocking function; (2) TRAb are also positive in about 70% of hypothyroid patients, with blocking TRAb responsible for nearly half of the cases. The present guidelines will provide up-to-date recommendations and suggestions dedicated to all phases of IRT-induced TD: (1) screening before IRT (recommendations 1–3); (2) monitoring during/after IRT (recommendations 4–7); (3) management of TD post-IRT (recommendations 8–17). The clinical management of IRT-induced TD, and in particular GD, can be challenging. In these guidelines, we propose a summary algorithm which has particular utility for nonspecialist physicians and which is tailored toward management of alemtuzumab-induced TD. However, we recommend prompt referral to specialist endocrinology services following diagnosis of any IRT-induced TD diagnosis, and in particular for pregnant women and those considering pregnancy.

Free access

Isabelle Clinckspoor, Anne-Catherine Gérard, Jacqueline Van Sande, Marie-Christine Many, Lieve Verlinden, Roger Bouillon, Geert Carmeliet, Chantal Mathieu, Annemieke Verstuyf, and Brigitte Decallonne

Background and Objective: Vitamin D is known to modulate thyroid neoplastic and autoimmune disease. We investigated the role of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in normal thyroid development and function (thyrocytes and C cells). Methods: The thyroid phenotype of VDR knockout mice was studied in comparison to wild-type controls. The mice were fed a normal diet or a calcium-rich diet to circumvent effects induced by hypocalcemia. Results: Thyroid morphology was unaltered in VDR knockout mice. Also, expression of different parameters of thyrocyte function was comparable (immunohistochemistry). C cell physiology was, however, affected in the absence of the VDR, resulting in increased thyroidal calcitonin expression (immunohistochemistry), paralleled by increased serum calcitonin levels, but only in normocalcemic mice. To study a possible effect of vitamin D status on basal calcitonin levels in humans, serum calcitonin concentrations were compared between vitamin D-deficient and -sufficient patients (serum 25-OH vitamin D<sub>3</sub> ≤10 and ≥40 ng/ml, respectively), but no difference was observed. Conclusions: In mice, the VDR is redundant for normal thyrocyte function, but not for C cell function, where it mediates the negative control of calcitonin by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D<sub>3</sub>. In patients, vitamin D status does not affect basal serum calcitonin levels. A study in healthy individuals is needed to confirm these findings.