Prognostic value of post-thyroidectomy thyroglobulin levels in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer

A. Polachek, D. Hirsch, G. Tzvetov, S. Grozinsky-Glasberg, I. Slutski, J. Singer, R. Weinstein, I. Shimon, C. A. Benbassat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Thyroglobulin is an excellent biological marker of persistent or recurrent thyroid cancer during long-term follow-up. Most studies investigated its diagnostic value but not its prognostic value over time. We aim to study the prognostic value of thyroglobulin levels early after total thyroidectomy, before iodine ablation. Methods: The study was based on the Rabin Medical Center registry of patients with non-medullary thyroid carcinoma. Data were collected on the clinical, laboratory, and outcome characteristics of 420 consecutive patients followed at our institution for whom early post-operative pre-ablation thyroglobulin values (baseline thyroglobulin) were available. Results: Patients were classified into 4 groups by baseline thyroglobulin level: 0-2, 2-10, 10-100, and >100 ng/ml. Higher levels were associated with a shift toward male gender (p=0.01), larger tumor size (p=0.02), and a more extensive disease (p<0.0001). They were also related to disease persistence and evidence of disease at last follow-up (p<0.0001). The 10 ng/ml cut-off level identified patients with persistent disease with a sensitivity and specificity of 73%, positive predictive value of 43%, and negative predictive value of 89%. On multivariate analysis, the following variables were predictive of persistent disease: baseline thyroglobulin level, male gender, lymph-node involvement, distant metastases, higher tumor invasiveness, and larger tumor size. However, the predictive power of baseline thyroglobulin level was relatively weak (odds ratio 1.002, 95% confidence interval 1.00-1.04). Conclusions: In patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer, a post-thyroidectomy thyroglobulin level <10 ng/ml is associated with a low probability of having persistent disease and can be used combined with other disease characteristics for decisions regarding treatment and follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)855-860
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Prognosis
  • Thyroglobulin
  • Thyroid cancer


Dive into the research topics of 'Prognostic value of post-thyroidectomy thyroglobulin levels in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this