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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Obesity and Risk of Thyroid Cancer: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of 21 Observational Studies

Jie Ma, Min Huang, Li Wang, Wei Ye, Yan Tong, Hanmin Wang

(Department of Laboratory Medicine, Hubei Xinhua Hospital, Wuhan, Hubei, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:283-291

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.892035


Background: Several studies have evaluated the association between obesity and thyroid cancer risk. However, the results remain uncertain. In this study, we conducted a meta-analysis to assess the association between obesity and thyroid cancer risk.
Material and Methods: Published literature from PubMed, EMBASE, Springer Link, Ovid, Chinese Wanfang Data Knowledge Service Platform, Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Chinese Biology Medicine (CBM) were retrieved before 10 August 2014. We included all studies that reported adjusted risk ratios (RRs), hazard ratios (HRs) or odds ratios (ORs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of thyroid cancer risk.
Results: Thirty-two studies (n=12 620 676) were included in this meta-analysis. Obesity was associated with a significantly increased risk of thyroid cancer (adjusted RR=1.33; 95% CI, 1.24–1.42; I2=25%). In the subgroup analysis by study type, increased risk of thyroid cancer was found in cohort studies and case-control studies. In subgroup analysis by sex, both obese men and women were at significantly greater risk of thyroid cancer than non-obese subjects. When stratified by ethnicity, significantly elevated risk was observed in Caucasians and in Asians. In the age subgroup analysis, both young and old populations showed increased thyroid cancer risk. Subgroup analysis on smoking status showed that increased thyroid cancer risks were found in smokers and in non-smokers. In the histology subgroup analyses, increased risks of papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, and anaplastic thyroid cancer were observed. However, obesity was associated with decreased risk of medullary thyroid cancer.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that obesity is associated with an increased thyroid cancer risk, except medullary thyroid cancer.

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