[The full text of this article, with brain & thyroid images, is available free at http://tinyurl.com/6pums9]
Thyroid malignancy in ME/CFS patients greatly exceeds the normal incidence of thyroid malignancy in any known subgroup.
- The thyroid malignancy incidence in the ME/CFS group may exceed 6,000 / 100,000.
- As part of their investigation, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) patients should be examined by thyroid ultrasound for evidence of thyroid pathology and malignancy.
- Thyroid pathology may be missed in this group of patients if investigation relies only upon serum testing for TSH, FT3, FT4, microsomal and thyroglobulin antibodies, which are usually normal.
- Thyroid uptake scans tend also to be normal and may also miss malignant lesions.
A newly recognized syndrome may exist in ME/CFS patients characterized by:
(a) Thyroid malignancy,
(b) Persistent abnormal cortical and subcortical SPECT brain scans (NeuroSPECT),
(c) Failure of thyroidectomy surgery and hormone replacement to correct the fatigue syndrome, and
(d) An unusual high incidence of cervical vertebrae osteoarthritic changes.
ME/CFS patients with treated non-malignant thyroid disease and abnormal NeuroSPECT scans may also fail to improve despite adequate thyroid hormone replacement.
A brief summary of the differences between ME and CFS is discussed.
Lee, Hur and Ahn  stated that thyroid malignancy is said to be an infrequent occurrence found in 0.5 to 3 patients per 100,000 in the general population. They noted that in a subgroup of patients booked for mammography, a thyroid ultrasound was also performed. In this group, they found thyroid malignancy frequency was as high as 3 per 100,000. It is not known if their subgroup was at a higher risk for malignancy. Mittelstaedt  in the Globe and Mail states that thyroid malignancy was 15 per 100,000.
In the past 100 patients whom I have investigated for (ME/CFS), with or without associated Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FS), I have found that 6% of these patients had thyroid malignancy. In each of these patients the diagnosis was made by ultrasonography and needle biopsy under ultrasonography. This was followed by surgical removal of the thyroid, and each case the malignancy was confirmed.
These findings would suggest that 6% of the ME/CFS patients seen, or 6,000 cases per 100,000, had a confirmed thyroid malignancy. Unfortunately, these figures may be conservative since we are in the process of obtaining needle biopsies on six further cases of these first 100 patients. In addition, we have not yet performed thyroid ultrasound on all 100 cases. We are in the process of further investigation of those patients who had not yet been investigated by thyroid ultrasound.
Previously, it has been noted that the increased incidence of thyroid malignancy in the general population is only associated with increased radiation exposure. Patients presenting with symptoms of ME/CFS or Fibromyalgia may have significant higher thyroid malignancy incidence.
[Note: In the full text article], the authors explain that all 6 ME/CFS patients with thyroid malignancy in their 100-patient sample had fallen ill "abruptly after an acute infectious disease," and would fall into a group diagnostically considered to have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. They speculate that perhaps all Myalgic Encephalomyelitis patients "might be confirmed by measurement using SPECT and PET brain scanners."]
NeuroSPECT was performed with the radiopharmaceutical NeuroliteTM and processed with the software Neurogam by Segami Corp.(Maryland, USA.)
Source: Alasbimn Journal 10 (38):oct 2007. Article N° AJ38-2 by Hyde B, Leveille J, Baudrey S, Green T. Nightingale Research Foundation Ottawa; Hopital Hotel Dieu, Montreal, Canada. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]