Changes in salivary gland function following radioiodine therapy of thyroid diseases: A comparison of high-dose therapy for thyroid cancer and low-dose therapy for benign thyroid disease

Document Type : Original Article


1 Research Center for Nuclear Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Pasteur Institute of Iran, Biochemistry Department, Tehran, Iran

3 Nuclear Medicine Department, Imam Hossein Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: High-dose radioactive iodine therapy in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) may adversely affect the salivary gland function. This study is aimed to evaluate the effect of radioactive iodine (RAI) with dose of 100 mCi in DTC patients compared to lower doses of less than 30 mCi in hyperthyroid cases.
Methods: Fifty four patients (13 men and 41 women) age: 42.3±14.3 (21-71) years were enrolled in the study. Twenty seven hyperthyroid cases received less than 30 mCi of I-131 for the treatment, and 27 DTC patients were treated with 100 mCi of I-131. All patients underwent Tc-99m pertechnetate scintigraphy before and three months after radioiodine therapy. Salivary gland excretion fractions (EF) were compared between groups. A decrease of more than 5% in EF was considered significant.
Results: The total frequency of salivary dysfunction was 41.7%. In patients received a dosage of 100 mCi of I-131, this frequency was 49.1%, while with less than 30 mCi, it was 34.3% (p<0.01). The right parotid gland was affected more than the left following 100 mCi treatment. Risk ratio of salivary gland involvement in high-dose versus low-dose group was significant (risk ratio=1.04-1.98, CI (95%); p=0.019). However, there was no significant difference in symptom presentation, i.e. xerostomia between two groups.

Conclusion: RAI therapy may cause salivary gland dysfunction and this effect is more frequent in DTC patients with higher dose of 100 mCi compared to hyperthyroid cases with lower doses of less than 30 mCi.


Main Subjects

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