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Highlights of the 39th European Thyroid Association Annual Meeting

Highlights of the 39th European Thyroid Association Annual Meeting
  • Endocrinology and metabolism
  • Diabetes


Resource type



Congress report
thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibody bioassays
Graves’ orbitopathy



Congress Centre, Hotel Scandic Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
September 3–6, 2016

The annual meeting of the European Thyroid Association (ETA) provided a well-balanced program of high level science and clinical research to more than 1100 participants from 34 countries. More than two thirds of the 104 oral and 240 poster presentations dealt with thyroid cancer, with pregnancy and/or autoimmunity also popular topics


An extremely well-attended symposium on September 3rd offered an update on hyperthyroidism. The current president of the Danish Thyroid Society, Laszlo Hegedüs (Odense, Denmark) introduced the recently published ETA guidelines on the diagnosis and management of subclinical hyperthyroidism1 while Stine Anderson (Aalborg, Denmark) presented her excellent data on the relative rate of foetal malformations during pregnancy in patients taking different antithyroid drugs e.g. methimazole versus propylthiouracil. Newly developed small “antagonist” molecules binding to the transmembrane region of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor were discussed by Marvin Gershengorn (National Institute of Health [NIH], Bethesda, USA).

Bioassays for thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibodies

A challenging and informative symposium on cell-based bioassays for measuring functional TSH-receptor stimulating and blocking autoantibodies was held on Sunday September 4th. After a short introduction by the moderator, novel aspects of the structure of the TSH receptor and functionality of TSH receptor antibodies were discussed by Susanne Neumann (NIH, Bethesda, USA), while Tanja Diana (Mainz, Germany), as second speaker, introduced the analytical performance of a cell-based bioassay to measure TSH receptor-blocking antibodies, discussing their clinical relevance in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. A third speaker, Jennifer Wendelkind (Athens, Ohio, USA) presented a new quantitative and standardized bioassay for the measurement of functional TSH receptor-stimulating antibodies. This successful symposium was well-attended and the discussion was useful for the numerous basic scientists and clinicians who attended.

Graves’ orbitopathy

A further highlight of ETA 2016 was the symposium update on Graves’ orbitopathy where Luigi Bartalena (Varese, Italy) reported on the recent ETA and European Group on Graves’ orbitopathy (EUGOGO) guidelines, advocating the administration of intravenous steroids once weekly as the gold standard in patients with clinically active and severe Graves’ eye disease. Subsequently, Thomas Brix (Odense, Denmark) presented data on the increased risk of morbidity and mortality with thyroid eye disease and a representative from the NIH/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, USA presented interesting results on the TSH receptor cross-talking with the insulin-like growth factor receptor, the activation of several intracellular pathways further to the cAMP-CREB-pathway, and inhibition of intracellular pathways following administration of small molecules binding to the transmembrane region of the TSH receptor -  the dominant receptor in Graves’ disease.

Thyroid disease - fertility and pregnancy

This popular evening symposium opened with a discussion of the causes of fertility in both male and female patients by Kris Poppe (Brussels, Belgium), with thyroid autoimmunity singled out as the major cause of infertility in patients with thyroid disease. Subclinical thyroid dysfunction impacts fertility, pregnancy success, rate of complications, miscarriages and eclampsia. The guidelines of the American Thyroid Association (ATA) on thyroid dysfunction and pregnancy were presented by Elisabeth Pearce (Boston, USA) and compared with those of the ETA, highlighting the differences in recommendations between the two continents. Finally, the deleterious consequences of thyroid dysfunction, mainly hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency on the neurological status and development of the foetus and newborn were shown by Robin Peters (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) using recent data from a large registry in the Netherlands.


Overall, ETA 2016 was an attractive and excellent international scientific meeting offering the latest data on basic and clinical thyroidology combined with several educational events, including five pre-congress activities (basic and clinical educational courses, an ultrasound course, an iodine network symposium and an ETA cancer clinical research network meeting).

The next ETA annual meeting takes place in Belgrade, Serbia, from September 9th to 12th, 2017.


Biondi B, et al. The 2015 European Thyroid Association guidelines on diagnosis and treatment of endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism. Eur Thyroid. 2015;4:149–63.

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