Clinical Thyroidology for the Public summarizes selected research studies discussed in the previous month’s issue of Clinical Thyroidology, an official publication of the American Thyroid Association. Editor-in-chief, Alan Farwell, MD, FACE

Volume 16 Issue 5

May is International Thyroid Awareness Month

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Clinical Thyroidology for the Public Volume 16 Issue 5 (PDF file, 2.62 MB)



A healthy lifestyle may decrease genetic predisposition to thyroid cancer

Among the well-established thyroid cancer risk factors include a family history, exposure to ionizing radiation, and obesity. Lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol and diet have been proposed to affect thyroid cancer incidence. This study was done to explore the association between lifestyle, genetic factors and the risk for thyroid cancer, and also to address the question of whether lifestyle modification could reduce the risk for developing thyroid cancer.
Feng X et al 2022 Association Between Genetic Risk, Adherence to Healthy Lifestyle Behavior, and Thyroid Cancer Risk. JAMA Netw Open 5(12):e2246311.

Does radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer increase the risk of developing other cancers?

Radioactive iodine therapy is an important treatment option for patients with thyroid cancer after undergoing surgery. One concern about radioactive iodine therapy has always been whether this treatment might be increasing patients’ risk of developing other cancers. This study further investigated additional cancers involving other body organs after receiving radioactive iodine.
Kim KJ et al 2023 Linear association between radioactive iodine dose and second primary malignancy risk in thyroid cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. Epub 2023 Feb 23. PMID: 36821433.

Predictors of outcomes in patients with medullary thyroid cancer

Studies show that the long-term prognosis of MTC depends on the calcitonin doubling time (CDT). Further, low-grade cancers are usually less aggressive and have a better prognosis while high-grade cancers are more aggressive and have a worse prognosis. This study aimed to investigate the differences in CDT between high and low-grade MTC.
Nigam A et al 2022. Tumor grade predicts for calcitonin doubling times and disease-specific outcomes after resection of medullary thyroid carcinoma. Thyroid 32:1193–1200. PMID: 35950622.

Can serum calcitonin levels be used determine postoperative follow-up in medullary thyroid cancer?

Surgery is the mainstay of treatment for MTC. Follow-up of MTC after surgery uses imaging and measurement of calcitonin levels to determine if the disease is cured or if there are still cancer cells present. In this study, the authors measured calcitonin levels after thyroid surgery to assess cure.
Duval MAS et al 2023 An undetectable postoperative calcitonin level is associated with long-term disease-free survival in medullary thyroid carcinoma: Results of a retrospective cohort study. Thyroid 33:82–90. PMID: 36222615.

Treatment aggressiveness for thyroid cancers varies widely and is influenced by physician’s attitude and local practice environment

Overall, thyroid cancer usually carries an excellent prognosis and treatment options have changed to less aggressive treatment strategies. However, the initial treatment approach chosen remains very variable due to several factors. This study was done determine the physicians’ perceived risk with respect to the thyroid cancer progressing or recurring and their degree of aggressiveness exercised in choosing treatment options.
Schumm MA et al 2022 Perception of risk and treatment decisions in the management of differentiated thyroid cancer. J Surg Oncol 126:247–256. PMID: 35316538.

Variation in treatment of thyroid eye disease

Thyroid eye disease (TED) is the result of inflammation of the eyes, the eye muscles and the surrounding tissues. Even mild symptoms can affect patients’ well-being while severe cases can impact vision. This study was done to survey Endocrinologists from the US and Europe to compare diagnosis and treatment of TED.
Brito JP et al 2022 A survey on the management of thyroid eye disease among American and European Thyroid Association members. Thyroid 32:1535–1546. PMID: 35946071.