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Luigi Bartalena, Luca Chiovato, Gianfranco Fenzi, Claudio Marocci, Stefano Mariotti, Enio Martino, Furio Pacini, and Paolo Vitti

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Fabio Maino, Cristina Dalmiglio, Nicoletta Benenati, Michele Campanile, Tania Pilli, Raffaella Forleo, Lucia Brilli, Cristina Ciuoli, Silvia Cantara, Marco Capezzone, Alessandra Cartocci, Furio Pacini, and Maria Grazia Castagna

Introduction: Association between hypercalcitoninemia and pathological conditions such as autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) or differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC) has been addressed, with conflicting results. We evaluated the prevalence and the clinical relevance of elevated basal serum calcitonin (CT) levels in non-neoplastic (nodular goiter [NG] and AIT) and neoplastic thyroid diseases (DTC). Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 3,250 consecutive patients with thyroid nodular disease who underwent fine-needle aspiration cytology with adequate sample. After exclusion of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) patients were divided according to the presence/absence of thyroid autoimmunity into NG or nodular autoimmune thyroiditis (N-AIT) and, according to cytological results, in benign or suspicious/malignant nodules. Results: One hundred ninety-seven/3,250 patients (6.0%) showed CT level >10 pg/mL. In 11/3,250 (0.3%) cases, a final histological diagnosis of MTC was made, while the remaining 186/3,250 patients (5.7%) had non-MTC-related hypercalcitoninemia (CT > 10 pg/mL). According to cytological diagnosis, the rate of hypercalcitoninemia was similar in class II and class V–VI groups (5.4 vs. 6.9%, p = 0.4). The occurrence of hypercalcitoninemia was significantly higher in patients with NG (166/2,634 [6.3%]) than in patients with N-AIT (20/605 [3.3%]) (p = 0.004). However, after matching by sex, no difference was found between the 2 groups (NG and N-AIT). These results were confirmed in 598 patients submitted to surgery. Conclusions: AIT and DTC seem not to affect serum CT levels in patients with thyroid nodules. Therefore, hypercalcitoninemia, in these patients, should be submitted to the same diagnostic workup than patients without AIT or DTC.

Open access

Furio Pacini, Dagmar Fuhrer, Rossella Elisei, Daria Handkiewicz-Junak, Sophie Leboulleux, Markus Luster, Martin Schlumberger, and Johannes W Smit

Modern use of post-operative radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) should be implemented in line with patients’ risk stratification. Although beneficial effects of radioiodine are undisputed in high-risk patients, controversy remains in intermediate-risk and some low-risk patients. Since the last consensus on post-surgical use of RAI in DTC patients, new retrospective data and results of prospective randomized trials have been published, which have allowed the development of a new European Thyroid Association (ETA) statement for the indications of post-surgical RAI therapy in DTC. Questions about which patients are candidates for RAI therapy, which activities of RAI can be used, and which modalities of pre-treatment patient preparation should be used are addressed in the present guidelines.

Free access

Mario Rotondi, Maria Grazia Castagna, Carlo Cappelli, Cristina Ciuoli, Francesca Coperchini, Francesco Chiofalo, Fabio Maino, Paola Palmitesta, Luca Chiovato, and Furio Pacini

Background: A possible impact of obesity on the risk of thyroid cancer has been postulated in some studies, but it remains controversial. Objective: To investigate the association between obesity and differentiated thyroid carcinoma in a population of unselected patients subjected to fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) for thyroid nodules. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the results of FNAC of thyroid nodules in 4,849 patients (3,809 females and 1,040 males; mean age 55.9 ± 14.1 years). Patients were stratified according to their body mass index (BMI). There were 1,876 (38.7%) normal-weight patients (BMI 18-24.9), 1,758 (36.2%) overweight (BMI 25-29.9), 662 (13.7%) grade 1 obese (BMI 30-34.9), 310 (6.4%) grade 2 obese (BMI 35-39.9) and 243 (5.0%) grade 3 obese (BMI >40). Results: The prevalence of suspicious or malignant nodules (Thy4/Thy5) did not differ across the 5 BMI groups, i.e. it was 6.8% in normal-weight patients, 6.3% in overweight patients, 6.3% in grade 1 obese patients, 4.0% in grade 2 obese patients and 4.2% in grade 3 obese patients (p = 0.29). The prevalence of Thy4/Thy5 nodules did not differ when males and females were evaluated separately (p = 0.22 and p = 0.12, respectively). A significant, lower rate of Thy4/5 cytology was observed in female patients with grade 2-3 obesity (odds ratio 0.51; 95% confidence interval 0.284-0.920; p = 0.009). Conclusions: The results of this study, in a retrospective series of patients with thyroid nodules, do not confirm previous findings reporting an association between obesity and differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Thus, obese patients with nodular thyroid disease should be managed the same as normal-weight patients.

Free access

Marco Capezzone, Noemi Fralassi, Chiara Secchi, Silvia Cantara, Lucia Brilli, Tania Pilli, Fabio Maino, Raffaella Forleo, Furio Pacini, Gabriele Cevenini, Alessandra Cartocci, and Maria Grazia Castagna

Background: The definition and the behaviour of familial papillary thyroid cancer (FPTC) compared to the sporadic form (SPTC) are still debated. Some authors believe that only families with 3 or more affected members represent an actual example of familial diseases. Objectives: The objective of the study was to analyse the clinicopathological features and the outcome of sporadic and familial PTC patients also according to the number of affected members. Methods: Among 731 patients, we identified 101 (13.8%) with familial diseases, 79 with 2 affected members (FPTC-2) and 22 with 3 or more affected members (FPTC-3) followed for a mean period of 10 years. Results: FPTC patients had more frequently bilateral tumour (p = 0.007). No difference was found between the 2 groups for the other evaluated variables. At the time of the first follow-up (1–2 years after initial therapy), FPTC patients had a higher rate of persistent disease. However, at the last follow-up, the clinical outcome was not different between sporadic and familial patients. When the comparison between SPTC and FPTC was performed, according to the number of affected members, a significant trend between the 3 groups was observed for tumour diameter (p = 0.002) and bilaterality (p = 0.003), while we did not observe a significant trend for both response to initial therapy (p = 0.15) and last clinical outcome (p = 0.22). Conclusions: Our results suggest that, although the clinicopathological features of FPTC may be more aggressive, the long-term outcome is similar between FPTC and SPTC. A possible explanation is that PTC has a favourable prognosis, even when clinical presentation is more aggressive.

Free access

Tania Pilli, Silvia Cantara, Lutz Schomburg, Valeria Cenci, Sandro Cardinale, Ellen C.D. Heid, Eike C. Kühn, Gabriele Cevenini, Fausta Sestini, Carla Fioravanti, Gabriele D'Hauw, and Furio Pacini

Background: Several studies have suggested that selenium may influence the natural history of autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT). Recently, IFNγ-inducible chemokines (CXCL-9, -10 and -11) were shown to be elevated in AIT patients. Objective: This prospective, randomized, controlled study was conducted to evaluate the effect of two doses of selenomethionine (Semet; 80 or 160 µg/day) versus placebo in euthyroid women with AIT, in terms of reduction of anti-thyroid antibodies, CXCL-9, -10 and -11 and improvement of thyroid echogenicity, over 12 months. Patients and Methods: Sixty patients, aged 21-65 years, were equally randomized into 3 groups: placebo, 80 µg/day of Semet (80-Semet) or 160 µg/day of Semet (160-Semet). Results: Anti-thyroperoxidase antibody (TPOAb) levels remained unaffected by Semet supplementation; anti-thyroglobulin antibody levels showed a significant reduction in the 160-Semet and the placebo group at 12 months. No significant change in thyroid echogenicity, thyroid volume and quality of life was observed within and between the groups. Subclinical hypothyroidism was diagnosed in 2 patients of the placebo group versus 1 patient in each Semet group. Serum CXCL-9 and -10 were significantly reduced in both Semet groups at 6 and 12 months, while they remained unchanged or increased in the placebo group. CXCL-11, TNFα and IFNγ showed a transient decrease at 6 months in both Semet groups but returned nearly to the basal levels at 12 months. Conclusions: Semet supplementation had no positive effect on thyroid echogenicity or TPOAb in our patients. However, we observed a Semet-dependent downregulation of the IFNγ-inducible chemokines, especially CXCL-9 and -10, which may serve as helpful biomarkers in future selenium supplementation trials.