What is the role of a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppression test in the workup of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Ponnandai S Somasundar, MD, MPH, FACS; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Answer

Thyroid cancer is autonomous and does not require TSH for growth, whereas benign lesions do require TSH. When exogenous thyroid hormone feeds back to the pituitary to decrease the production of TSH, thyroid nodules that continue to enlarge are likely to be malignant. However, 15-20% of malignant nodules are suppressible.

Preoperatively, the TSH suppression test is useful for patients with nontoxic solitary benign nodules and for women with repeated nondiagnostic test results. Postoperatively, the test is useful for monitoring papillary thyroid cancer cases.


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