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Preserving Thyroid Function in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Radiotherapy


Clinical trial discovers ways to protect thyroid during cancer radiation therapy

Radiation therapy stands as a crucial treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), but it isn't without its potential side effects, particularly impacting the thyroid gland. The thyroid's role in maintaining overall health is vital, yet radiation therapy can sometimes lead to complications such as hypothyroidism (HT) or subclinical HT, affecting patients' well-being.


A clinical trial carried out at Fujian Province Hospital sought ways to minimize these thyroid-related issues in individuals undergoing radiation therapy for NPC.

Clinical trial

This trial involved ninety-two participants who underwent various treatment approaches, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), a specialized form of radiation treatment. The research closely monitored the thyroid function of these patients before and after radiation, paying specific attention to a set radiation dose limit for the thyroid gland, termed as V40 ≤ 85%.


The primary focus of the trial lay on subclinical HT, a condition that affects health without immediate symptoms. Over an average follow-up period of 34 months, researchers made a notable discovery: a significant difference emerged in the occurrence of subclinical HT between two distinct groups - one adhering to the specified thyroid dose limit (V40 ≤ 85%) and the other without any specific constraint (unrestricted group).


Remarkably, the group that adhered to the thyroid dose limit showcased a notably lower risk of developing subclinical HT compared to those without such restrictions. This implies that by carefully regulating the amount of radiation the thyroid gland receives during treatment planning, there might be a considerable reduction in the likelihood of thyroid-related issues following radiation therapy for NPC.

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This trial proposes that shielding the thyroid from excessive radiation during treatment planning could potentially diminish the risk of thyroid-related problems for individuals undergoing radiation therapy for NPC. By taking these precautions, healthcare professionals aim to enhance the well-being of patients and decrease the probability of certain radiation-induced thyroid complications.


The clinical trial's revelations suggest that implementing a specific radiation dose limit (V40 ≤ 85%) for the thyroid during IMRT planning can play a pivotal role in mitigating radiation-induced subclinical HT in NPC patients. This groundbreaking insight opens up new avenues for refining radiation therapy strategies, which could significantly enhance patient care and long-term health outcomes.


This breakthrough underscores the significance of meticulous treatment planning in reducing adverse effects and improving the overall quality of life for individuals undergoing radiation therapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma. It marks a substantial step forward in cancer treatment, offering optimism for improved outcomes and well-being for individuals facing the challenges posed by this disease.


Springer Link, Aug-25-23

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.