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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lithium as a potential adjuvant to 131I therapy of metastatic, well differentiated thyroid carcinoma.

As lithium inhibits the release of iodine from the thyroid but does not change iodine uptake, it may potentiate 131I therapy of thyroid cancer. The effects of lithium on the accumulation and retention of 131I in metastatic lesions and thyroid remnants were evaluated in 15 patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Two 131I turnover studies were performed while the patients were hypothyroid. One was performed while the patient received lithium; the second served as a control study. From a series of gamma-camera images, it was found that lithium increased 131I retention in 24 of 31 metastatic lesions and in 6 of 7 thyroid remnants. A comparison of 131I retention during lithium with that during the control period showed that the mean increase in the biological or retention half-life was 50% in tumors and 90% in remnants. This increase occurred in at least 1 lesion in each patient and was proportionally greater in lesions with poor 131I retention. When the control biological half life was less than 3 days, lithium prolonged the effective half-life, which combines both biological turnover and isotope decay, in responding metastases by more than 50%. More 131I also accumulated during lithium therapy, probably as a consequence of its effect on iodine release. The increase in the accumulated 131I and the lengthening of the effective half-life combined to increase the estimated 131I radiation dose in metastatic tumor by 2.29 +/- 0.58 (mean +/- SEM) times. These studies suggest that lithium may be a useful adjuvant for 131I therapy of thyroid cancer, augmenting both the accumulation and retention of 131I in lesions.[1]


  1. Lithium as a potential adjuvant to 131I therapy of metastatic, well differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Koong, S.S., Reynolds, J.C., Movius, E.G., Keenan, A.M., Ain, K.B., Lakshmanan, M.C., Robbins, J. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (1999) [Pubmed]
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