Treatment of thyroid cancer with radioiodine therapy (program ID: 280815)

University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich

location_on Munich, Germany
9.8/10 from 70 Votes
Specialized hospital
Wolfgang Weber

Head Physician
Prof. Dr. med.

Wolfgang Weber

Specialized in: nuclear medicine

Department of Nuclear Medicine

Program includes:

  • Initial presentation in the clinic
  • case history collection
  • general clinical examination
  • laboratory tests:
    • complete blood count
    • general urine analysis
    • biochemical analysis of blood
    • TSH-basal, fT3, fT4
    • tumor markers (thyroglobulin (TG),
      TG antibodies (TgAb))
    • indicators of inflammation
    • indicators of blood coagulation
  • ultrasound scan of the thyroid gland
  • thyroid scintigraphy
  • radioiodine therapy
  • symptomatic treatment
  • cost of essential medicines
  • nursing services
  • stay in the hospital with full board  in 2-bed room
  • elaboration of further recommendations

How program is carried out

During the first visit, the doctor will conduct a clinical examination and go through the results of the available diagnostic tests. After that, you will undergo the necessary additional examination, such as the assessment of liver and kidney function, ultrasound scan of the thyroid gland and lymph nodes of the neck, thyroid scintigraphy. This will allow your doctor to assess how effective radioiodine therapy will be and how well you will tolerate it. In addition, the doctor will calculate the dosage of the drug you need.

Radioiodine therapy with I-131 includes oral administration of the drug. You will take 1 to 4 radioactive iodine capsules or drink about a teaspoon of liquid with radioactive iodine. You will take the drug in your ward, without visiting the manipulation room or operating room.

After taking radioactive iodine, you will stay in your ward for 24 to 48 hours. The next morning after the procedure, the dosimetrist will determine the amount of radiation in your body. If the amount is low, you will be allowed to leave your ward and will be discharged from the hospital. If the amount is high, then the dosimetric control will continue for another day, until a low amount of radiation in your body is detected.

The isotope I-131 can accumulate not only in the thyroid gland, but also partially in the salivary glands. This can cause dry mouth. To get rid of this side effect, you will dissolve sour candies, as this stimulates the work of salivary glands.

The drug is quickly excreted by the kidneys, and after 48 hours you will no longer pose a danger to others. After the procedure, you should drink at least 1 glass of water per hour and visit the toilet regularly. This will allow you to quickly remove radioactive iodine from the body. Food can be usual, without excess iodine in the diet.

During these 48 hours, you can read, use a mobile phone, tablet or computer. All these devices will not be a source of radiation in the future.

Control examination includes scintigraphy, which is performed 7-10 days after radioiodine therapy. Based on the results of the examination, the doctor will determine how well the cells of the thyroid gland (or cancer metastases) have accumulated radioactive iodine. In a few weeks after the procedure, you will have a control blood test for thyroid hormones. In the future, you will visit an endocrinologist regularly.

Required documents

  • Medical records
  • MRI/CT scan (not older than 3 months)
  • Biopsy results (if available)
Type of program :
Expected duration of the program:

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About the department

The Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich offers the full range of services in this field. The key clinical focuses include the diagnostics and treatment of tumors, thyroid, kidney, brain and heart diseases. To do this, doctors have at their disposal all the necessary medical equipment of the latest generation, for example, devices for PET-CT, SPECT/CT, MRI, etc. The Chief physician of the department is Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Weber.

There are 13 inpatient beds available for patients (the largest Department of Nuclear Medicine in Germany). With more than 5,500 outpatient thyroid examinations, more than 5,000 PET studies, more than 2,000 traditional studies in the field of nuclear medicine, as well as with an annual number of more than 800 inpatients, the Department Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich ranks among the largest and most authoritative Nuclear Medicine Centers in the whole Europe.

The medical team of the department consists of 5 senior physicians and 11 assistant physicians, 15 medical and technical workers, 3 nurses with special training in the field of PET, and 11 care nurses. To provide interdisciplinary, comprehensive medical care, the department works in close cooperation with many other departments of the hospital. In addition, the department is part of the Roman Herzog Comprehensive Cancer Center (Roman-Herzog-Krebszentrums), which contributes to the most effective therapy in cancer treatment.

Also worth noting are the most significant achievements of the department, namely it is the certified Center of Excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors (the certificate of the European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (ENETS)) and its PET-CT Unit is certified by the European Association for Nuclear Medicine (EANM).

The service range of the department includes:

  • Diagnostics and treatment of benign and malignant thyroid diseases
    • Ultrasound examinations
    • Scintigraphy
    • Laboratory blood tests
    • Fine needle puncture biopsy
    • Radioiodine therapy for the treatment of benign and malignant thyroid diseases
    • Other diagnostic and therapeutic options
  • Diagnostics and treatment of oncological diseases
    • 68Ga-PSMA PET for prostate cancer detection
    • Radium-223 dichloride therapy in prostate cancer
    • Lutetium-177-PSMA therapy for metastatic prostate cancer
    • Selective internal radiation therapy for primary and secondary liver tumors
    • DOTANOC PET Ga-68 study for the detection of neuroendocrine tumors, as well as for targeted therapy
    • Other diagnostic and therapeutic options
  • Diagnostics of heart diseases
    • Myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (for example, in ischemic heart disease)
    • FDG-PET scan
    • Cardiac MRI (to detect structural changes, such as scarring, connective tissue proliferation (fibrosis) or swelling)
    • Combined PET and MRI (for example, for the detection of myocarditis, cardiac sarcoidosis, endocarditis)
    • Other diagnostic services
  • Diagnostics of diseases of the nervous system (for example, FDG-PET for the detection of Alzheimer's disease, some forms of dementia, epilepsy)
  • Other diagnostic and therapeutic services

Curriculum vitae

Dr. Weber is a graduate of the Medical School of the Technical University of Munich. He was trained in Nuclear Medicine at the Technical University of Munich and joined the Faculty of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the same university in 2001. From 2004 to 2007, he was Associate Professor at the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2007 he was appointed Professor and Chair of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Freiburg in Germany. In 2013 he returned to the USA and became Chief Physician of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as Professor of Radiology at the Weill Cornell Medical College. He held both positions until the end of 2017. 

Dr. Weber’s research is focused on molecular imaging of cancer for planning and monitoring of therapeutic interventions. He is also interested in targeted radionuclide therapy of cancer and theranostics. Dr. Weber has published more than 250 papers in leading scientific journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, PNAS, as well journals of the Nature series. He has served on the editorial board of several scientific journals, such as the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Clinical Cancer Research and Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Photo of the doctor: (c) Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universität München

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