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Radioiodine therapy of benign thyroid disorders: what are the effective thyroidal half-life and uptake of 131I?

Kobe, Carsten; Eschner, Wolfgang; Wild, Markus; Rahlff, Ilka; Sudbrock, Ferdinand; Schmidt, Matthias; Dietlein, Markus; Schicha, Harald

Nuclear Medicine Communications:
doi: 10.1097/MNM.0b013e328333d303
Original Articles

Aim: The use of radioiodine therapy is common in the treatment of benign thyroid disease. Council directive Euratom 97/43 requires that for all medical exposure of individuals for radiotherapeutic purposes exposures of target volumes should be individually planned. There are several strategies to accomplish this aim for radioiodine therapy including individual radioiodine uptake measurement and using either individual or mean effective radioiodine uptake and half-life. Although it is always simple to use standard activities, the effective thyroidal half-life and thyroidal uptake of 131I needs to be estimated individually to achieve optimal dosimetric results. We analyzed the radioiodine half-life and uptake in a large number of patients for use in a semi-individual calculation.

Methods: Patients presenting consecutively between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2007 were included in the study. Inclusion criteria were the control of hyperthyroidism and withdrawal of antithyroid drugs 2 days before preliminary radioiodine testing and therapy. Patients were treated for Graves' disease (n=363), nontoxic goitre (n=50), toxic goitre (n=639), or toxic uninodular adenoma (n=365). The effective half-life and uptake of 131I were estimated by uptake measurements after 24 h and 5 days during the preliminary radioiodine test, and serial measurements over 5 days during therapy.

Results: The mean effective half-life of 131I measured during radioiodine therapy was 5.4 days in Graves' disease, 6.4 days in nontoxic goitre, 6.6 days in toxic goitre, and 5.7 days in toxic uninodular adenoma. The mean maximal uptake of 131I measured during radioiodine therapy was 64% in Graves' disease, 42% in nontoxic goitre, 38% in toxic goitre, and 31% in toxic uninodular adenoma.

Conclusion: These actual values analyzed here might be used for a semi-individual calculation of therapeutic activity when an individual approach is not possible.

Author Information

Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Correspondence to Carsten Kobe, MD, Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Cologne, Kerpener Street 62, Cologne D-50924, Germany

Tel: +49 221 478 4050; fax: +49 221 478 6777;


Received 6 July 2009 Revised 10 August 2009 Accepted 5 October 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.