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Mary Shomon

Thyroglobulin (Tg) Level Predicts Thyroid Cancer Recurrence

By June 29, 2010

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At the Endocrine Society conference last week, an abstract was presented that discussed the ability to predict thyroid cancer recurrence using the measurement of thyroglobulin (Tg) levels

In that small study, the researchers found that the presence of any detectable Tg, even levels less than 2 -- was strongly suggestive of recurrent or residual thyroid cancer.

Based on the findings -- which will likely be presented in a more specific journal article at some point -- it appears, however, that thyroid cancer survivors who have any measurable thyroglobulin warrant further investigation and observation.

More on Thyroid Cancer:

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Source: K Iyengar, et. al. "Utility of low concentrations of serum thyroglobulin in predicting residual or recurrent disease in patients treated for well-differentiated thyroid cancer" ENDO 2010 Abstracts, Abstract P1-568

July 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm
(1) Bob says:

I had thyroid cancer and the thyroid antibody levels have track cancer recurrences. Tg levels haven’t moved but the antibody levels have been an extremely accurate markers for the extent of cancer and recurrences of tumors.

July 13, 2010 at 9:12 am
(2) elle says:

Having just had my entire thyroid removed in April due to papillary thyroid cancer, I find this post frightening. It is too short on details. Residual cancer where? Anywhere?
I had RAI therapy following surgery just to kill off any remaining tissue, was told the prognosis was excellent and cancer was limited only to nodules on the thyroid and had not spread.
My Quantitative Thyroglobulin was 2.6 ng/mL with a reference range of 0.5 – 55.0. Low but “measurable”.
Now I see this.

March 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm
(3) Rick says:

My wife has had the exact same thing and follow up treatment. Her levels were 2.5. Her doctor wants her to do a ct scan of the chest(lungs) just to be safe. Haven’t decided yet. What does your Doctor think of this article. Rick

August 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm
(4) Dave says:

I think that there is some legitimacy to this article. I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in 2007 and had my thyroid completely removed. I had I131 radiation afterwards and then had cancerous lymph nodes removed followed by another I131 radiation. I had a third I131 radiation last year and then a PT Scan revealed a definitive recurrence of the Thyroid cancer.

I’ve undergone more surgery and 7 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, but my Tg levels remain at 47. We’ll see what options my doctor presents now. I’ve been going to the City of Hope for all of my surgeries and treatment.

December 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm
(5) Christine says:

My thyroglobulin levels for many years were at 2, then it went up to nine. It was found I had a cyst in my neck, it was drained, sent for analysis. No cancer cells. Curiously my tg dropped back down to 2. Now it is on the rise again and at 6. Had an ultrasound of my neck and have two cysts now. My oncologist does not seem concerned but I am. Why would tg levels go up after about 7 years? I know it is not super high but I thought any increase was an indication?

December 21, 2011 at 12:46 am
(6) kas says:


I had a large neck cyst and had it drained twice, several months apart. The results were negative, but a few months later I had my cancerous thyroid (and lots of lymph nodes and several cysts) removed. With a Tg that high, I’d ask for a second opinion. BTW, my surgeon was good and I’m three years without problem. Good luck. I’d also stop checking the Internet… I’ve discovered that the Internet is much scarier than having a good conversation with a good endocrinologist.

August 10, 2012 at 2:47 am
(7) Laurel Callahan says:

I had TT April 9 2012 and RAI on May 21st. WBS clean after that.

Just got new labs done and my TSH went up to 14 and my Thyroglobulin is at 122!

My ENT didn’t tell me about the Thyroglobulin, he just had his nurse call and up my Levo.

I had my GP request a copy of the labs and we saw the Thyroglobulin level at 122.

He said not to worry Yet and have labs done again in a couple weeks.

I’m freaked out.

December 10, 2012 at 11:38 pm
(8) Jill says:

I had a total thyroidectomy for multifocal papillary carcinoma. I was never even told of needing this radioactive iodine stuff. Now I am told, 2 yrs out, that I need thyrogen injections to see if I have a recurrence because my levels are never good. I was told that at one time my tg levels measured a five then shot up to a nine then down to a four…..I am so lost in what this all means. I am wondering if I have a recurrence or even if this has metastisized. I did not have any lymph nodes checked or removed either. Just at a loss at this point. Any ideas?

December 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm
(9) Joan says:

My thyroglobulin is 145 and I have stage four Insular Thyroid cancer that has metastasized to my lungs.

January 5, 2013 at 2:21 am
(10) debasish chatterjee says:

my daughter is 08 ears old. weight. 32 kg. t3. 1.57ng/ml. t4 8.37 ug/dl. tsh 1.46 MCIU/ ml. thyroglobulin AB 8.43 IU / ml. is this normal ?

January 5, 2013 at 2:30 am
(11) d.chatterjee says:

my daughter is 08 years old. she has small solitary functioning WARM nodule involving the lower part of the right lobe of the thyroid gland. T3 1.57NG /ml. T4 8.37 UG / DL. TSH 1.46 MCIU / ml. what type of treatment or precaution we should take.

January 15, 2013 at 4:56 am
(12) taloot says:

you shoul go for ultrasoud & FNAC…

February 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm
(13) cheryl burns says:

I had my left side of my thyroid removed january 11th in which they found 3 small spots of cancer. I then went in to surgery to have my right side removed and they found 3 more small spots of cancer. I am now seeing a oncologist who is ordering a ct scan for me and i had blood drawn to check the thyroglobulin levels to see if it has spread to another part of my body. They have upped my thyroid meds from 125 mcg to 250 mcg as of now. all this is just happening and yes it is scary. i try to not show it to my family but lord it is hard. i lost both my parents to cancer and i am so scared this will take me away from my family. i would like to become pin pals to anyone who would like to just chat. my email is cherylburns22@verizon.net. it would be nice to have someone to talk to who is going through the same feelings and health issues that would understand me. if you have any advise that would help. let me know.

May 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm
(14) Gina says:

I had a subtotal thyroidectomy (7/8th removal of thyroid) done in 2007 at Mayo Clinic. 2 small nodules of papillary cancer found. I never had RAI because the nodules were small. Now almost 6 years later, My TSH is 6.07 and my recent Tg is 1.5. I keep reading that my Tg should be undetectable on some sites and other sites say it can be as high as 5 before being considered a recurrence. My appointment is in 2 weeks with my endo and I’m really freaking. Should I be concerned?

May 27, 2013 at 8:29 am
(15) Bob says:

Cheryl and Gina:

Both of you should get a Whole Body Scan (WBS) with the RAI tracer. If your cancer absorbs iodine.

If you do get RAI treatment, make sure doses are appropriate. Make sure the person, DR is very experienced and even get second opinion.

June 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm
(16) cheryl says:

they told me I didn’t need the scan. they said that the cancers I had on my thyroid which were 6 of them were small and there is a very slim chance it spread any where. I go in September of 2013 for a ultra sound of my neck to check lymp nodes.

August 26, 2013 at 10:58 am
(17) Mary Merc says:

I had a total thyroid removal . papillary ca, 18 months ago. I refused RAI for 2 reasons, 1st, I felt my node was just on the margin, and 2, The possible side affects were (for me) not acceptable. I have very little smell or taste and a sever case of Glaucoma. The chance of losing the little tast I have left, as well as eye and neck complications was too risky.
My thyroglobulin two months ago was 3.5 last week, 3.1. My endo recommended a scan with RAI following. Again, I have with much thought and prayer, refused RAI. Has anyone else refused RAI with levels that show possible residual thyroid cells?

September 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm
(18) stacie says:

I have also refused RAI. My thyroglobulin was at a 0.2 in March. I had my left lobe removed in 99 for papillary carcinoma. In November 2012 I had the right side removed for the same. The nodule was right on the line size wise for treating with RAI so I just decided to do follow ups.

September 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm
(19) debbie says:

My daughter Was just at the Dr he said her thyroid globulin level is 18,596 and should be about 5 her biology was normal no cancer what is going on, does anyone have ideas

September 17, 2013 at 10:22 pm
(20) debbie says:

My daughter Was just at the Dr office he said her thyroid globulin level is 18,596 and should be about 5 her biology was normal no cancer what is going on any info

October 25, 2013 at 10:38 am
(21) Tracie Dat says:

I had a total thyroidectomy and when the pathologist report came back from my local hospital they said I has follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer but subject to peer review. since that time I have had a pathologist at Johns Hopkins say. O cancer, a pathologist a Brigham & Women’s favor a diagnosis of FVPTC and a pathologist at Mass. General also says no thyroid cancer.
I refused RAI and went with a more conservative treatment of watch and see! My thyroglobulin test, which was just done, was under 1.
Don’t give up.. Take charge of your own health care. My first endo said she would not treat me anymore unless I followed her recommendation of a low dose of RAI. Nope!!! I have contacted two pathologist about my cancer and they said very conservative treatment. Take charge. Do research.

November 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm
(22) Mary Ann O'Donnell says:

Just a question. My son (age 37 at the time) was diagnosed with throid cancer and had his thyroid totally removed, I’m not 100% on all the medical terms. He had to take a radiation pill after that I guess to kill remaining cancer cells. Fast forward to now, He had blood test done and levels were at 16. he had ultra sound (all clear) pet scan (all clear) now they will do a MRI next week to see if cancer has spread to bone or brain. My biggest constantlly tired. Does his level at 16 mean that the cancer has spread? Could it be from thyroid medicine? I worry myself sick over him. Just looking for possibilities. Thx.

January 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm
(23) Cathy Harlan says:

I had 2 RAI treatments in 2013 for follicular thyroid cancer that was in 2 out of 6 lymph nodes and metastasized to my pelvis, one rib and my liver. Just had a thyroglobulin level of 1, 632 last week. I am guessing that I still have residual thyroid cancer even thought the thyroglobuilin levels have decreased since the second RAI treatment.

January 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm
(24) Kim says:

Just had a 2 part thyroidectomy. First left side, then right side. ( 2 weeks apart) I have Micro Follicular Carcinoma. Igo for my labs for tg levels on the 23rd of this month. I had my first surgery on Dec 2, 2013. Second Dec 16. I am on the fence about this fearful disease. I did not have RAI,but I wonder and worry, should we not all have full scans?

May 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm
(25) Anna says:

Hi , my thyroglobulin measured 10ug/l does this mean it’s back haven’t a clue ? Had 3 treatments now and one lymph node slightly changed shape ? Would love to know?

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