Aims: To evaluate thyroid gland dysfunction during interferon alfa (INF-alpha)therapy in patients with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV)
Methods: 58 patients with HCV and 18 patients with HBV were studied prospectively before and with 2 months intervals during INF-alpha therapy. Measurements of serum thyroxine,triiodothyronine, thyrotropine, triiodothyronine resin uptake, thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAbs), and thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAbs) were performed.Thyroid radioactive ioidine uptakes (RAIU) were obtained in patients who developed thyrotoxicosis.Thyroid gland size were evaluated with palpation.
Results: All patients were clinically and biochemically euthyroid prior to INF-alpha therapy.Before treatment, positive levels of TPOAbs and TgAbs were found in 13.8% and 8.6% of patients with HCV compared with 5.5% and 5.5% of patients with HBV, respectively. Titers of TPOAbs increased significantly (P<0.018) at the end of INF-alpha therapy in patients with HCV but not in those with HBV. Thyroid gland dysfunction was occurred only in patients with HCV (!0.3%) (P<0.05), in whom 5 patients developed hypothyroidism and 1 patient becamed thyrotoxic secondary to thyroiditis with low thyroid RAIU.Patients who developed thyroid gland dysfunction had a higher prevalence of TPOAbs before treatment Thyroid gland size increased significantly during the study in patients with HBV (P<0.001) and HCV (P<0.005) respectively.
Conclusions:Thyroid gland dysfunction in not infrequently observed in patients with HCV receiving INF-alpha therapy . Systematic screening of thyroid function and TPOAbs titers in all patients with HCV before and during INF-alpha therapy appears warranted.Should INF-alpha has goiterogenic effects, needs further studies.
22 - 24 Mar 2004
British Endocrine Societies