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A Iervasi, G Iervasi, A Bottoni, G Boni, C Annicchiarico, P Di Cecco, and GC Zucchelli

The determination of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) is commonly used for detecting the presence of residual thyroid tissue or cancer recurrence in patients treated for differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The aim of the study was to evaluate the performance characteristics of a recently introduced fully automated chemiluminescent immunoassay, based on four monoclonal antibodies and which produces results in 40 min. Analytical sensitivity (0.01 micro g/l) was computed from 20 replicates of the zero calibrator and of the 'Tg-free' sample pool. Functional sensitivity (0.1 micro g/l at 20 coefficients of variation percent) was determined from the imprecision profile obtained by assaying ten serum pools. The reliability of the measurements in the low concentration range (Tg<1 micro g/l) has been checked by progressive dilution with the 'Tg-free' serum of a sample pool at 5.27 micro g/l; measured values were very close to the expected values (recovery 100-133%).Cut-off at the 99th percentile in DTC stage I 'disease-free' treated patients (n=53) was 0.16 micro g/l. Tg measurement in basal conditions during L-thyroxine suppression therapy and 5 days after recombinant human TSH stimulation was performed in 22 patients with DTC. In 80% of patients with basal Tg<0.1 micro g/l (12/15), Tg remained<0.1 micro g/l after stimulation, and in all of these Tg was<1 micro g/l.Our results have indicated the optimal analytical and clinical performance of this Tg immunoassay and encourage further studies on larger populations of patients with DTC.

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L Sabatino, AG Cerillo, A Ripoli, A Pilo, M Glauber, and G Iervasi

The cardiovascular system is an important target for thyroid hormones. The present study evaluates the changes affecting thyroid hormone metabolism during and 6 days after coronary artery bypass and their relationship with the post-operative outcome of the patients. Thirty-three patients were enrolled in the study; their thyroid hormone profiles were determined at 13 sampling points during surgery and for 6 days afterwards. Serum total tri-iodothyronine (T3) and free T3 (FT3) concentrations decreased significantly after surgery (P<0.001) and they remained significantly low until the end of the study. Free thyroxine (FT4) and T4 declined significantly immediately after surgery (P<0.05 for FT4, P<0.001 for T4) but they returned to baseline values (24 h and 96 h post-surgery respectively). Serum reverse T3 increased remarkably 36 h after surgery (P<0.001) and remained significantly higher than the baseline value throughout the study. A relevant finding was that the days of post-operative hospitalization (10+/-3 days, means+/-S.D.) was inversely correlated with the slope of the recovery of T3 concentration (P<0.001) or with the area under the plasma curves of T3 (P=0.024, time range 72-144 h) and the FT3/FT4 ratio (P=0.037, time range 72-144 h) during the post-operative period. Our data suggest a prolonged reduction of T4 to T3 conversion in patients undergoing cardiac surgery and indicate that the recovery period is the most critical in the evaluation of a possibly successful approach for T3 substitutive therapy.