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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

The 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)
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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 area. Key clinical areas include the diagnostics and treatment of tumors, diseases of the thyroid gland, kidneys, brain and heart. For this purpose, doctors have at their disposal the necessary medical equipment of the latest generation: devices for PET, PET/CT, SPECT/CT, etc. After comprehensive diagnostics, doctors of the medical facility assess the advisability of radioisotope therapy. In 2020, there was founded the Section for Theranostics – an innovative approach in medicine, providing for the creation of medications that can be simultaneously used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The department was one of the first specialized medical institutions of its kind in Germany and has been providing patients with high-quality medical care for many years. The Head Physician of the department is Prof. Dr. med. Wolfgang Weber.

The department has 13 beds, which makes it the largest medical facility in Germany, specializing in the diagnostics and treatment with radioactive isotopes. With more than 5,500 outpatient thyroid examinations, more than 5,000 PET scans, more than 2,000 conventional nuclear medicine examinations, as well as more than 800 inpatients every year, the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich is one of the most respected centers of nuclear medicine throughout Europe.

The department's medical team consists of 5 senior physicians and 11 assistant physicians, 15 technicians, 3 nurses with specialized PET training, and 11 nursing nurses. To provide interdisciplinary, comprehensive medical care, the department works closely with 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 cancer therapy.

The most significant achievements of the department should also be noted – the recognition as a certified Center of Excellence for the diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors (certificate of the European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (ENETS)), as well as the certification of the PET-CT Section by the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM).

The department's range of medical services includes:

  • Diagnostic options
    • Scintigraphy
    • PET
    • PET/CT
    • SPECT/CT
    • 18F-FDG PET
    • Somatostatin receptor PET
    • PSMA PET
    • 18F-florbetaben PET
    • Norepinephrine transporter PET
    • CXCR4 PET
    • Bone mineral density measurement with the DEXA method
  • Therapeutic options
    • Radioiodine therapy
    • Lutetium-177 PSMA isotope therapy for metastatic prostate cancer
    • Actinium-225 PSMA therapy 
    • Radium-223 dichloride (Xofigo) therapy 
    • Lu-DOTATATE therapy
    • Lu-177 CXCR4 therapy
    • Radiosynoviorthesis
    • Palliative pain management for bone metastases
  • Other diagnostic and therapeutic services

Curriculum vitae

Dr. Weber is a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. He had his training in Nuclear Medicine at the Technical University of Munich and in 2001 joined the Faculty of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the same university. From 2004 to 2007, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 2007, he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital Freiburg in Germany. In 2013, he returned to the United States and took up the position of Head Physician of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and also became Professor for Radiology at the Weill Cornell Medical College. He held both positions until the end of 2017.

Dr. Weber's research activities are focused on molecular imaging of cancer for planning and monitoring therapeutic interventions. He is also interested in targeted radionuclide therapy for cancer and theranostics. Dr. Weber has published over 250 articles in leading scientific journals, including the Journal of Clinical Oncology, PNAS, and 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, Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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


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