BackgroundPatients with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, develop hyperthyroidism because their immune system makes antibodies that turn on the thyroid gland, causing the thyroid to enlarge and make excessive amounts of thyroid hormones.
The antibodies turn on the thyroid by acting like TSH and binding to the TSH receptor. Sometimes the antibody goes away and Graves’ disease goes into remission. Indeed, that is the goal when patients stay on antithyroid drugs, such as Methimazole or Propylthiouracil, for 12-18 months and then the drugs usually are stopped.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of patients either do not go into remission or relapse within the first year after stopping the antithyroid drugs. Therefore, any test that would predict which patients would remain in remission and which would relapse before stopping the antithyroid drugs would be useful.
Clinical Thyroidology for Patients / Glenn Braunstein, MD
New test may help predict which patients with Graves’ disease will remain in remission after stopping antithyroid drugs
The authors developed a test that measured one type of thyroid-stimulating antibodies (the Mc4 assay) which was shown to be positive in the patients with Graves’ disease, but negative in patients without thyroid problems, patients with hyperthyroidisms from other causes and patients with Graves’ disease that are in remission. In this study, they tested the ability of the Mc4 assay to serve as a sensitive index of remission or relapse of Graves’ disease after treatment with antithyroid drugs.
The full article title
A TSHR-LH/CGR chimera that measures functional thyroid-stimulating autoantibodies (TSAb) can predict remission or recurrence in Graves’ patients undergoing antithyroid drug (ATD) treatment
Giuliani C et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.
April 6 2012 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-2897.