In properly selected patients with differentiated thyroid cancer, antithyroglobulin antibodies decline after thyroidectomy and their sole presence should not be an indication for radioiodine ablation
ABSTRACT Objective Our objective was to evaluate the trend of antithyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) during follow-up of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) treated without RAI, as well as their role in the risk of recurrence. Subjects and methods This was a prospective, descriptive study. A total of 152 consecutive patients with DTC treated in a single institution undergoing total thyroidectomy without RAI and followed for a median of 2.3 years (0.5-10.3) were divided in two groups: TgAb(-) (n = 111) and TgAb(+) (n = 41). Patients were classified according to AJCC 7th and 8th editions, as well as to their risk of recurrence and response to treatment categories. Results Both groups, TgAb(-) and TgAb(+), were similar regarding patient and tumor characteristics. At the end of follow-up, 90 (59.2%), 57 (37.5%), 3 (2%) and 2 (1.3%) patients achieved excellent, indeterminate, biochemically incomplete and structurally incomplete response, respectively. The risk of structural recurrence was similar in both groups (TgAb[-] 0.9% vs. TgAb[+] 2.4%, p = 0.46). In the TgAb(+) group, TgAb became negative in 10 (24.4%), decreased ≥ 50% without negativization in 25 (60.9%), decreased < 50% in 4 (9.8%) and remained stable or increased in 2 (4.9%) cases. The only incomplete structural response had increasing TgAb during follow-up. Conclusions In properly selected patients with DTC, TgAb concentration immediately after total thyroidectomy should not mandate RAI ablation, and their trend during follow-up may impact the risk of recurrence.