When should radioactive iodine treatment stop?

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While treatment with radioactive iodine (RAI) after thyroid cancer surgery is a standard of care, one expert will focus on its clinical benefits and appropriate stop time, at the American Thyroid Association's National Thyroid Cancer Workshop II, held Jan. 23-24 in Miami.

Specifically, R. Michael Tuttle, MD, professor of medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, is asking whether additional RAI is likely to produce significant clinical benefit or how to know when to stop treating with RAI.

“It may be time to stop RAI when additional treatment is unlikely to produce a significant clinical benefit even if the patient is not cured, or if the patient still has progressive disease, and when a post-therapy scan is still positive,” said Tuttle.

“We can determine if additional RAI is likely to produce a significant clinical benefit by looking at individual features, such as age, histology, site of disease, by diagnostic whole body scan, PET scan and determining if there has been previous objective evidence of benefit,” he added

Tuttle noted that brain and bone metastases tend to be refractory to cure with RAI and he emphasizes that there are “many tools in the modern toolbox.”