Characteristics of recovery from the euthyroid sick syndrome induced by tumor necrosis factor alpha in cancer patients

R. A. Feelders, A. J.G. Swaak, J. A. Romijn, A. M.M. Eggermont, E. T. Tielens, G. Vreugdenhil, E. Endert, H. G. Van Eijk, A. Berghout

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21 Citaten (Scopus)


Cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the euthyroid sick syndrome. Isolated limb perfusion (ILP) with recombinant human tumor necrosis factor alpha (rTNF) and melphalan in patients with melanoma or sarcoma is accompanied by high systemic TNF levels. We examined the prolonged effects (7 days) of ILP on thyroid hormone metabolism with respect to induction and recovery of the euthyroid sick syndrome in six cancer patients. After ILP, when the limb is reconnected to the systemic circulation, leakage of residual rTNF resulted in systemic peak levels at 10 minutes postperfusion followed by a parallel increase in plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) and cortisol, with maximum levels at 4 hours (P < .05). A rapid decrease was observed at 5 minutes for plasma triiodothyronine (T3), reverse T3 (rT3), thyroxine (T4), and thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) (P < .05), whereas free T4 (FT4) and T3- uptake showed a sharp increase, with peak levels at 5 minutes (P < .05). T3, T4, and TBG levels remained low until 24 hours after ILP. In contrast, rT3 increased above pretreatment values to maximum levels at 24 hours (P < .05). Plasma thyrotropin (TSH) showed an initial decrease at 4 hours postperfusion [P < .05) but exceeded pretreatment values from day 1 to day 7 (by +94% ± 43% to +155% ± 66%, P < .05), preceding the recovery of T4 and T3 levels. T3 and rT3 returned to initial values at day 4. T4 and TBG levels recovered at day 2. T4 exceeded basal values at days 5 to 7 (P < .05). It is concluded that ILP with rTNF induces a euthyroid sick syndrome either directly or indirectly through other mediators such as IL-6 or cortisol. The recovery from this euthyroid sick syndrome is, at least in part, TSH-dependent, since the prolonged elevation of TSH values preceded and persisted during the normalization of T3 and the elevation of T4 levels. This biphasic pattern of induction of and recovery from the euthyroid sick syndrome may be a general feature of nonthyroidal disease. The euthyroid sick syndrome should be interpreted not only in relation to the presence of nonthyroidal diseases but also in relation to the recovery from these diseases.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)324-329
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusGepubliceerd - 1999
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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