Sonographic appearance of thyroid glands in patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy or conventional radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Sammy C.H. Cheng, Wing Cheung Vincent Wu, Dora L.W. Kwong, C. Y. Lui, Ashley C.K. Cheng, Brian C.W. Kot, Tin Cheung Ying

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study aimed to investigate the sonographic appearances of the thyroid glands in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients whose cervical lymph nodes were treated with conventional radiotherapy (RT) or intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The post-RT sonographic appearances of the thyroid glands in NPC patients were also correlated with the thyroid function. Methods: One hundred and three NPC patients who had completed RT of cervical lymph nodes using the anterior cervical field, 30 NPC patients who had completed RT of cervical lymph nodes using IMRT, and 61 healthy subjects were included in the study. Thyroid glands were sonographically assessed for their size, echogenicity, vascularity, and internal architecture. Thyroid function tests were also performed on each subject. Results: In comparison with the patients with abnormal thyroid function, the thyroid glands of the patients with normal thyroid function tended to be homogeneous and to have greater volume and echogenicity index (p<0.05). Compared with those of the healthy subjects, the thyroid glands of patients previously treated with IMRT and those treated with the anterior cervical field showed significantly lower thyroid volume, lower incidence and number of nodules, and higher vascularity index (p<0.05). Conclusions: The patient's history of previous RT should be taken into consideration in the sonographic examination of the thyroid gland post-RT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-223
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Ultrasound
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Hypothyroidism
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Radiotherapy
  • Thyroid
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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