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Open access

Chunyun Fu, Shiyu Luo, Yingfeng Li, Qifei Li, Xuehua Hu, Mengting Li, Yue Zhang, Jiasun Su, Xuyun Hu, Yun Chen, Jin Wang, Bobo Xie, Jingsi Luo, Xin Fan, Shaoke Chen, and Yiping Shen

Background

The incidence of congenital hypothyroidism (CH) differs significantly among different ethnicities and regions, and early differentiation of transient CH is important to avoid unnecessary prolonged treatment with L-T4.

Objective

To investigate the incidence of CH based on the newborn screening program in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, and to analyze the predictors that might allow for an early differentiation between permanent (P) and transient (T) CH.

Design and methods

Data from newborn screening program over a seven-year period (January 2009 to January 2016) at Guangxi Maternal and Child Health Hospital are analyzed. Blood samples were collected on filter paper between 3 and 7 days after birth, and TSH level was measured by time-resolved fluorescence assay. Individuals with increased TSH (TSH ≥ 8 IU/L) levels detected by newborn screening were recalled for further evaluation. Serum TSH, FT3 and FT4 were determined by electrochemiluminescence assay using venous blood samples. Diagnosis of CH is based on elevated TSH levels (>10 IU/L) and decreased FT4 levels (<12 pmol/L). Patients with elevated TSH levels and normal FT4 levels were diagnosed as hyperthyrotropinemia. Permanent or transient CH was determined by using the results of thyroid function tests after temporary withdrawal of L-T4 therapy at approximately 2–3 years of age.

Results

Among 1,238,340 infants in the newborn screening program, 14,443 individuals were recalled for reevaluation (re-call rate 1.18%), 911 and 731 individuals were subsequently determined to have hyperthyrotropinemia and CH respectively; thus, a prevalence of 1:1359 and 1:1694 for hyperthyrotropinemia and CH. Of the 731 patients with CH, 161 patients were diagnosed with permanent CH (PCH), and 159 patients were diagnosed with transient CH (TCH), the other 411 patients are too young to determine their subtypes. Patients with PCH required an increasing dose of L-T4 during the first few years, whereas patients with TCH required a decreased dose of L-T4. The TSH levels at diagnosis and the dose of L-T4 used were significantly higher in PCH cases than in transient cases. The FT4 levels at diagnosis were significantly lower in PCH cases than in TCH cases. The TSH levels at diagnosis, FT4 levels at diagnosis and L-T4 doses at 90 days were evaluated as predictors for differentiating PCH and TCH, and their accuracy at their respective optimal cutoffs were determined to be 60.6%, 66.7% and 93.9%, respectively.

Conclusions

The CH incidence in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region is slightly higher (1:1694) compared to the worldwide levels (1/2000–1/4000). The PCH and TCH ratio is close to 1; thus, the estimated PCH incidence is 1/3388, which is similar to reported worldwide average incidence (1/3000). The L-T4 dose required at 90 days (>30 μg/day) has the highest predictive value for PCH. Earlier differentiation of PCH and TCH helps to determine appropriate treatment course.

Open access

Isabel M Abreu, Eva Lau, Bernardo de Sousa Pinto, and Davide Carvalho

Previous studies suggested that subclinical hypothyroidism has a detrimental effect on cardiovascular risk factors, and that its effective treatment may have a beneficial impact on overall health. The main purpose of this review and meta-analysis was to assess whether subclinical hypothyroidism treatment is of clinical relevance, based on cardiovascular risk parameters correction. A systemic research of the literature using MEDLINE tool was performed to identify the relevant studies. Only placebo-controlled randomized control trials were included. A quantitative analysis was also performed. This systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials assess the different impact of levothyroxine vs placebo treatment. A significant decrease in serum thyroid-stimulating hormone and total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was obtained with levothyroxine therapy (66, 9 and 14%, respectively) and, although modest, this could be significant in terms of reduction of the incidence of coronary artery disease. Other significant results of lipid parameters were not obtained. This systematic review provides a strong evidence-based data in favour of specific changes and beneficial effects of levothyroxine treatment.

Open access

Thera P Links, Trynke van der Boom, Wouter T Zandee, and Joop D Lefrandt

Thyroid hormone stimulates cardiac inotropy and chronotropy via direct genomic and non-genomic mechanisms. Hyperthyroidism magnifies these effects, resulting in an increase in heart rate, ejection fraction and blood volume. Hyperthyroidism also affects thrombogenesis and this may be linked to a probable tendency toward thrombosis in patients with hyperthyroidism. Patients with hyperthyroidism are therefore at higher risk for atrial fibrillation, heart failure and cardiovascular mortality. Similarly, TSH suppressive therapy for differentiated thyroid cancer is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. In this review, we present the latest insights on the cardiac effects of thyroid suppression therapy for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Finally, we will show new clinical data on how to implement this knowledge into the clinical practice of preventive medicine.

Open access

Natalie Su-Jing Yap, Richard Maher, and Diana Louise Learoyd

The sensitivity of local recurrence detection in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) is increased by measuring thyroglobulin in needle washouts from lymph node fine-needle aspiration biopsies (FNA-Tg). Recent studies have proposed minimum diagnostic threshold values for FNA-Tg and have reported interference from Tg antibodies (Tg Ab), leading to low or false-negative results. The aim of this study was to assess the utility of FNA-Tg in the diagnosis of local DTC recurrence in patients referred to a single pathology service used by our tertiary teaching hospital, the first such study in an Australian cohort. Data were collected from the pathology service database for FNA-Tg over an 18-month period, and the results of 69 FNA-Tg samples from 57 patients were obtained. FNA-Tg findings were compared with cytology and histology when patients proceeded to surgery. Using the functional sensitivity as the cut-off, detectable FNA-Tg (≥0.9 μg/l) had a sensitivity of 95.7%, specificity of 50% and positive predictive value of 95.7%. Our results suggest that detectable FNA-Tg leads to histological confirmation of local nodal DTC recurrence and would support a decision to proceed to surgery. Serum Tg Ab can, however, interfere with FNA-Tg measurements. Thus, we now recommend routine use of FNA-Tg washouts in all lymph node FNA biopsies for the detection of DTC recurrence.

Open access

Yun Hu, Na Li, Peng Jiang, Liang Cheng, Bo Ding, Xiao-Mei Liu, Ke He, Yun-Qing Zhu, Bing-li Liu, Xin Cao, Hong Zhou, and Xiao-Ming Mao

Objective

Thyroid nodules are usually accompanied by elevated thyroglobulin (Tg) level and autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITDs). However, the relationship between Tg and AITDs is not fully understood. Dysfunction of regulatory T cells (Tregs) plays an important role in the development of AITDs. We aimed to evaluate the effects of Tg on the function of Tregs in patients with thyroid nodules.

Methods

Tg levels and the functions of Tregs in peripheral blood and thyroid tissues of patients with thyroid nodules from Nanjing First Hospital were evaluated. The effects of Tg on the function of Tregs from healthy donors were also assessed in vitro. The function of Tregs was defined as an inhibitory effect of Tregs on the effector T cell (CD4+ CD25 T cell) proliferation rate.

Results

The level of Tg in peripheral blood correlated negatively with the inhibitory function of Tregs (R = 0.398, P = 0.03), and Tregs function declined significantly in the high Tg group (Tg >77 μg/L) compared with the normal Tg group (11.4 ± 3.9% vs 27.5 ± 3.5%, P < 0.05). Compared with peripheral blood, the function of Tregs in thyroid declined significantly (P < 0.01), but the proportion of FOXP3+ Tregs in thyroid increased (P < 0.01). High concentration of Tg (100 μg/mL) inhibited the function of Tregs and downregulated FOXP3, TGF-β and IL-10 mRNA expression in Tregs in vitro.

Conclusions

Elevated Tg level could impair the function of Tregs, which might increase the risk of AITDs in patient with thyroid nodules.

Open access

Monika Schaffner, Ursula Rochau, Nikolai Mühlberger, Annette Conrads-Frank, Vjollca Qerimi Rushaj, Gaby Sroczynski, Eftychia Koukkou, Betina Heinsbaek Thuesen, Henry Völzke, Wilhelm Oberaigner, and Uwe Siebert

Objective

More than 30% of the German population suffers from mild to moderate iodine deficiency causing goiter and other iodine deficiency disorders (IDDs). The economic burden of iodine deficiency is still unclear. We aimed to assess costs for prevention, monitoring and treatment of IDDs in Germany.

Design

We performed a comprehensive cost analysis.

Methods

We assessed direct medical costs and direct non-medical costs for inpatient and outpatient care of IDDs and costs for productivity loss due to the absence of work in 2018. Additionally, we calculated total costs for an IDD prevention program comprising universal salt iodization (USI). We performed threshold analyses projecting how many cases of IDDs or related treatments would need to be avoided for USI to be cost-saving.

Results

Annual average costs per case in the year of diagnosis were € 211 for goiter/thyroid nodules; € 308 for hyperthyroidism; and € 274 for hypothyroidism. Average one-time costs for thyroidectomy were € 4184 and € 3118 for radioiodine therapy. Average costs for one case of spontaneous abortion were € 916. Annual costs of intellectual disability were € 14,202. In the German population, total annual costs for USI would amount to 8 million Euro. To be cost-saving, USI would need to prevent, for example, 37,900 cases of goiter/thyroid nodules.

Conclusion

USI potentially saves costs, if a minimum amount of IDDs per year could be avoided. In order to recommend the implementation of USI, a full health-economic evaluation including a comprehensive benefit-harm assessment is needed.

Open access

Josephina G Kuiper, Aline C Fenneman, Anne H van der Spek, Elena Rampanelli, Max Nieuwdorp, Myrthe P P van Herk-Sukel, Valery E P P Lemmens, Ernst J Kuipers, Ron M C Herings, and Eric Fliers

Objective

Whether an association between oral levothyroxine use, leading to supraphysiological exposure of the colon to thyroid hormones, and risk of colorectal cancer exists in humans is unclear. We therefore aimed to assess whether the use of levothyroxine is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in a linked cohort of pharmacy and cancer data.

Design

Population-based matched case–control study.

Methods

A total of 28,121 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1998 and 2014 were matched to 106,086 controls. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the association between levothyroxine use and occurrence of colorectal cancer, adjusted for potential confounders. Results were stratified by gender, age, tumour subtype, and staging, as well as treatment duration and dosing.

Results

A total of 1066 colorectal cancer patients (4%) and 4024 (4%) controls had used levothyroxine at any point before index date (adjusted odds ratio 0.95 (0.88–1.01)). Long-term use of levothyroxine was seen in 323 (30%) colorectal cancer patients and 1111 (28%) controls (adjusted odds ratio 1.00 (0.88–1.13)). Stratification by tumour subsite showed a borderline significant risk reduction of rectal cancer, while this was not seen for proximal colon cancer or distal colon cancer. There was no relationship with treatment duration or with levothyroxine dose.

Conclusions

In this study, no reduced risk of colorectal cancer was seen in levothyroxine users. When stratifying by tumour subsite, a borderline significant risk reduction of rectal cancer was found and may warrant further research.

Open access

Boni Xiang, Ran Tao, Xinhua Liu, Xiaoming Zhu, Min He, Zengyi Ma, Yehong Yang, Zhaoyun Zhang, Yiming Li, Zhenwei Yao, Yongfei Wang, and Hongying Ye

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate thyroid functions in Cushing’s syndrome (CS), the dynamic changes of thyroid hormones and antithyroid antibodies in Cushing’s disease (CD) pre- and postoperatively.

Design and methods

This is a retrospective study enrolling 118 patients with CS (102 CD, 10 adrenal CS and 6 ectopic adrenocorticotropic syndrome (EAS)). Thyroid functions (thyroid-stimulation hormone (TSH), T3, free T3 (FT3), T4 and free T4 (FT4)) were measured in all CS at the time of diagnosis and in all CD 3 months after transsphenoidal pituitary tumor resection. Postoperative hormone monitoring within 3 months was conducted in 9 CD patients completing remission. Twenty-eight remitted CD patients experienced hormone and antithyroid antibody evaluation preoperatively and on the 3rd, 6th and 12th month after surgery.

Results

TSH, T3 and FT3 were below the reference range in 31%, 69% and 44% of the 118 CS patients. Remitted CD patients (81/102) had significantly higher TSH (P = 0.000), T3 (P = 0.000) and FT3 (P = 0.000) than those in the non-remission group (21/102). After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 showed a significant increase, with a few cases above the reference range. By 12 months, most CD patients’ thyroid functions returned to normal. Thyroid hormones (including TSH, T3 and FT3) were negatively associated with serum cortisol levels both before and after surgery. No significant changes of antithyroid autoantibodies were observed.

Conclusions

TSH, T3 and FT3 are suppressed in endogenous hypercortisolemia. After remission of CD, TSH, T3 and FT3 increased significantly, even above the reference range, but returned to normal 1 year after surgery in most cases. Antithyroid antibodies did not change significantly after remission of CD.

Open access

Kusum Lata, Pinaki Dutta, Subbiah Sridhar, Minakshi Rohilla, Anand Srinivasan, G R V Prashad, Viral N Shah, and Anil Bhansali

Objectives

Thyroid antibody positivity during pregnancy has been associated with adverse outcomes including miscarriage and preterm delivery. The aim of the study is to evaluate the obstetric outcome in pregnant women with recurrent miscarriage and their response to levothyroxine (l-T4) therapy.

Study design and methods

All pregnant and non-pregnant women between 21 and 35 years of age with a history of two or more consecutive miscarriages were included in the study. A third group comprising 100 pregnant women without a history of miscarriage were taken as healthy controls. Thyroid autoimmunity, prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism and maternal and foetal complications were analysed in all the groups with appropriate statistical methods.

Results

The mean age of the patients included in the study was 27.0±3.1 years. Of 100 pregnant patients with previous recurrent miscarriage, thyroid autoimmunity (thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb+) >34 U/ml) was found in 31% of the cases. The incidence of subclinical hypothyroidism was higher in TPOAb+ group than in TPOAb group (52 vs 16%; P=0.0002). There was no difference in the prevalence of miscarriage or obstetric outcomes between recurrent miscarriage and healthy pregnant women group irrespective of TPO status.

Conclusions

The prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity was higher in pregnant women with a history of recurrent abortion compared with healthy pregnant control population. Following l-T4 treatment, there was no difference in prevalence of miscarriage between hypothyroid and euthyroid individuals in TPOAb+ women.

Open access

Yongping Liu, Shuo Wang, Qingling Guo, Yongze Li, Jing Qin, Na Zhao, Yushu Li, Zhongyan Shan, and Weiping Teng

Objective

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is characterized by elevated specific auto-antibodies, including TgAb and TPOAb. Increasing evidence has demonstrated the essential role of Th17 cells in HT. However, the underlying mechanism is still unclear. Semaphorin 5A (Sema 5A) is involved in several autoimmune diseases through the regulation of immune cells. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of Sema 5A in HT.

Methods

We measured serum Sema 5A levels in HT (n = 92) and healthy controls (n = 111) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RNA levels of Sema 5A and their receptors (plexin-A1 and plexin-B3), as well as several cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-17), were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 23 patients with HT and 31 controls. In addition, we investigated the relationship between serum Sema 5A and HT.

Results

Serum Sema 5A in HT increased significantly compared with healthy controls (P < 0.001). Moreover, serum Sema 5A levels were positively correlated with TgAb (r = 0.511, P < 0.001), TPOAb (r = 0.423, P < 0.001), TSH (r = 0.349, P < 0.001) and IL-17 mRNA expression (r = 0.442, P < 0.001). Increased Sema 5A RNA expression was observed (P = 0.041) in HT compared with controls. In receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, serum Sema 5A predicted HT with a sensitivity of 79.35% and specificity of 96.40%, and the area under the curve of the ROC curve was 0.836 (95% CI: 0.778–0.884, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

These data demonstrated elevated serum Sema 5A in HT patients for the first time. Serum Sema 5A levels were correlated with thyroid auto-antibodies and IL-17 mRNA expression. Sema 5A may be involved in immune response of HT patients.