Publication Abstract

Authors: Spencer C, LoPresti J, Fatemi S

Title: How sensitive (second-generation) thyroglobulin measurement is changing paradigms for monitoring patients with differentiated thyroid cancer, in the absence or presence of thyroglobulin autoantibodies.

Journal: Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes 21(5):394-404

Date: 2014 Oct

Abstract: PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To discuss new insights regarding how sensitive (second-generation) thyroglobulin immunometric assays (TgIMAs), (functional sensitivities ≤0.10 μg/L) necessitate different approaches for postoperative thyroglobulin monitoring of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), depending on the presence of thyroglobulin autoantibodies (TgAbs). RECENT FINDINGS: Reliable low-range serum thyroglobulin measurement has both enhanced clinical utility and economic advantages, provided TgAb is absent (∼75% DTC patients). Basal [nonthyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) stimulated] TgIMA measurement obviates the need for recombinant human TSH stimulation because basal TgIMA below 0.20 μg/L has comparable negative predictive value (>95%) to recombinant human TSH-stimulated thyroglobulin values below the cutoff of 2 μg/L. Now that radioiodine remnant ablation is no longer considered necessary to treat low-risk DTC, the trend and doubling time of low basal thyroglobulin values arising from postsurgical thyroid remnants have recognized prognostic significance. The major limitation of TgIMA testing is interference by TgAb (∼25% DTC patients), causing TgIMA underestimation that can mask disease. When TgAb is present, the trend in TgAb concentrations (measured by the same method) can serve as the primary (surrogate) tumor-marker and be augmented by thyroglobulin measured by a TgAb-resistant class of method (radioimmunoassay or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry). SUMMARY: The growing use of TgIMA measurement is changing paradigms for postoperative DTC monitoring. When TgAb is absent, it is optimal to monitor the basal TgIMA trend and doubling time (using the same method) in preference to recombinant human TSH-stimulated thyroglobulin testing. When TgAb is present, interference renders TgIMA testing unreliable and the trend in serum TgAb concentrations per se (same method) can serve as a (surrogate) tumor-marker.