Use of radioiodine after thyroid lobectomy in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer: Does it change outcomes?

Colleen M. Kiernan, Alexander A. Parikh, Lee L. Parks, Carmen C. Solórzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background Radioiodine (RAI) lobe ablation in lieu of completion thyroidectomy is not recommended. This study describes RAI use patterns and outcomes in patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) after thyroid lobectomy (TL). Study Design A total of 170,330 patients diagnosed with DTC between 1998 and 2011 were identified using the National Cancer Database. Demographic, tumor, and treatment variables were analyzed using both univariate and multivariate regression. Results A total of 32,119 patients (20%) underwent TL as the definitive procedure. Mean age at diagnosis was 48 years, median tumor size was 1 cm, 4% had extrathyroidal extension, 4% had positive lymph nodes, and <1% distant metastases. Radioiodine was administered to 24% of patients in the TL cohort and represented 10% of the overall RAI use. In multivariate analysis, RAI use was associated with age younger than 45 years (odds ratio [OR] = 1.51), community facilities (OR = 1.26), ≥1 cm tumors (OR = 5.67), stage II (OR = 1.54) or III (OR = 2.05), positive lymph nodes (OR = 1.78), and extrathyroidal extension (OR = 1.36). On both univariate and multivariate analysis, RAI after TL was associated with improved survival at both 5 and 10 years follow-up (97% vs 95% and 91% vs 89%, respectively; hazard ratio = 0.53; 95% CI, 0.38-0.72; p < 0.001) Conclusions Nearly one quarter of TL patients received RAI. The strongest predictors of RAI use were larger cancers and advanced stage. Use of RAI in these patients was associated with improved overall survival. Future studies and guidelines will need to more clearly address this practice and educate providers about the appropriate use of RAI in TL patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-625
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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