DrugLib.com — Drug Information Portal

Rx drug information, pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, news, and more

Effect of Lithium Carbonate on Low-Dose Radioiodine Therapy in Early Thyroid Cancer

Information source: National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Thyroid Cancer; Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma

Intervention: Lithium Carbonate (Drug); Placebo (Drug)

Phase: Phase 2

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Monica C Skarulis, M.D., Principal Investigator, Affiliation: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)


This study will examine the safety and effectiveness of using lithium, which has been used to enhance the effectiveness of high-dose 131I, with a single low dose (30 mCi) of 131I for thyroid ablation in patients with recently diagnosed papillary or follicular thyroid cancer who have had their thyroid gland removed and whose cancer has not spread beyond the thyroid. Participants are randomly assigned to receive lithium capsules or placebo (look-alike capsules with no active ingredient). They follow a low-iodine diet for 2 weeks before starting treatment and are then admitted to the NIH Clinical Center for study and treatment for 11 days, during which they remain on the low-iodine diet. Blood samples are collected almost every day to analyze thyroid hormones, kidney and liver function, lithium concentrations and other tests.

Clinical Details

Official title: The Effects of Lithium Carbonate on Low Dose Radioiodine Ablation in Early Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: The Rate of Successful Thyroid Ablation as Defined by Negative Recombinant Human Thyrotropin (rhTSH) Stimulated Radioiodine Whole Body Scan (RAI WBS) at 1 Year.

Detailed description: Postsurgical thyroid remnant ablation with (131)I is considered standard clinical care for most cases of papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, to eliminate normal thyroid tissue which may contain microscopic cancer. Furthermore, ablation enhances the sensitivity of subsequent (131)I scanning and serum thyroglobulin (TG) measurement for the detection of recurrent or persistent disease. Low dose (131)I (30 mCi) successfully ablates thyroid remnant in 8-61% of cases. This dose can be repeated and result in overall less radiation exposure than that associated with high dose therapy (100 mCi). Ablation achieved with one or more small doses of radioactive iodine is not associated with decreased survival or cancer recurrence. According to the literature there is no difference in the 30-year recurrence rates between groups receiving low and high dose ablation therapy for well differentiated thyroid cancer without distant metastases at the time of initial therapy. The benefits of using low dose of (131)I are minimization of whole body radiation exposure, reduction in side effects and lower cost. Higher rates of successful ablation by low dose of 131I could be achieved by increasing uptake of (131)I and/or lengthening retention of radioiodine in the remnant thyroid tissue. Recombinant human thyroid-stimulating hormone (rhTSH) has been used successfully to increase radioiodine uptake. Lithium has been used to increase radioiodine retention and has been shown to be useful in the treatment of residual or metastatic cancer. The combination of rhTSH and lithium as adjuncts to 30 mCi radioactive iodine (RAI) ablation therapy in low risk thyroid cancer patients may provide a method that reduces the cumulative dose of radioiodine needed to successfully treat thyroid cancer. The specific aim of this study is to determine whether adjunct lithium carbonate improves the success rate of postsurgical ablation of thyroid remnants using low dose (131)I (30 mCi) and rhTSH in low risk patients with differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Patients with well-differentiated papillary or follicular thyroid cancer stage I or II, according to the National Thyroid Cancer Treatment Cooperative Study (NTCTCS) classification at time of surgery, will be enrolled. Eligible patients will have had a total or near-total thyroidectomy within 6 months of enrollment. This randomized, placebocontrolled, double-blind study will permit an evaluation of the risk/benefit ratio of adding lithium as an adjuvant to the already established method of administering low-dose (131)I ablation therapy, to optimize the (131)I retention. All patients will undergo diagnostic rhTSH (123)I whole body scan at the end of the study to assess the success of thyroid ablation.


Minimum age: 16 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.



1. Patients older than 16 years with well-differentiated papillary or follicular thyroid cancer stage I or II, according to the NTCTCS classification at time of surgery 2. Patients younger than 45 years with any size of primary papillary or follicular tumor 3. Patients older than 45 years with: 1. primary papillary tumor less than 4 cm or 2. primary follicular tumor less than 1 cm


1. Patients with postsurgical thyroid remnant more than 5 g 2. Patients with distant metastases 3. Patients above 45 years of age having: 1. known cervical lymph nodes metastases 2. microscopic multifocal follicular cancer 3. microscopic extraglandular invasion of follicular cancer 4. gross extraglandular invasion of papillary or follicular cancer 4. Patients with confirmed histological subtypes of well-differentiated thyroid cancer such as Hurtle cell carcinoma, insular and tall cell variants of papillary cancer. 5. Pregnant or lactating women 6. Patients with renal impairment defined as repeat serum creatinine concentrations above 1. 5 mg/dl on thyroid hormone 7. Patients on chronic lithium therapy for psychiatric illness 8. Patients with current unstable cardiovascular conditions 9. Patients with severe chronic medical conditions (liver failure, severe debilitation, dehydration, sodium depletion, any other cancer requiring therapy, etc)

Locations and Contacts

National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, United States
Additional Information

NIH Clinical Center Detailed Web Page

Related publications:

Sherman SI. Thyroid carcinoma. Lancet. 2003 Feb 8;361(9356):501-11. Review.

Mazzaferri EL. An overview of the management of papillary and follicular thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid. 1999 May;9(5):421-7. Review.

Mazzaferri EL, Jhiang SM. Long-term impact of initial surgical and medical therapy on papillary and follicular thyroid cancer. Am J Med. 1994 Nov;97(5):418-28. Erratum in: Am J Med 1995 Feb;98(2):215.

Starting date: November 2005
Last updated: January 29, 2013

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

-- advertisement -- The American Red Cross
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Site usage policy | Privacy policy

All Rights reserved - Copyright DrugLib.com, 2006-2017