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 15 Issue 9

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

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Clinical Thyroidology for the Public Volume 15 Issue 9 (PDF file, 2.63 MB)



Are “bad habits” good for thyroid cancer? Smoking, alcohol and thyroid cancer risk

Researchers have been trying to find out factors that may be associated with thyroid cancer for several years. Smoking and alcohol consumption may cause many cancers. The aim of this study was to find out whether there was an association between cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption and thyroid cancer risk.
Yeo Y et al 2022 Smoking, alcohol consumption, and the risk of thyroid cancer: A population-based Korean cohort study of 10 million people. Thyroid 32:440–448. PMID: 35236095.

Which thyroid nodules should be considered for molecular testing?

Ultrasound is frequently used to determine whether nodules should be biopsied. Currently guidelines recommend using molecular testing if biopsy results are indeterminate. However, molecular testing is expensive and the authors wanted to determine if adding the information on ultrasound characteristics would affect the utility of molecular testing.
Hu TX et al 2022 The Effect modification of ultrasound risk classification on molecular testing in predicting the risk of malignancy in cytologically indeterminate thyroid nodules. Thyroid. Epub 2022 May 25. PMID: 35611970.

Interpretation of thyroid ultrasounds in patients with thyroid nodules

Currently there are many systems that are available to assess the risks for cancer in these nodules. Various systems are used based on where the patient lives and the person who is reading the ultrasound report and may indicate different level of risk based on the findings. This study assessed the different systems of risk assessment of thyroid nodules, including those recommended by various medical societies.
Hoang JK et al 2022 An International Survey on Utilization of Five Thyroid Nodule Risk Stratification Systems: A Needs Assessment with Future Implications. Thyroid. Epub 2022 Apr 11. PMID: 35229624.

Predicting need for thyroid hormone treatment after partial thyroid gland removal for low-risk thyroid cancer

Surgery to remove all, or part, of the thyroid gland is usually needed when thyroid cancer is discovered. Sometimes, removing the lobe that contains cancer is enough to treat this disease, which may avoid needing thyroid hormone treatment following surgery. The research described here aims to identify features of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer that predict adequate thyroid hormone production when only one side of the thyroid is removed.
Dou Y et al 2021 The recovery of thyroid function in low-risk papillary thyroid cancer after lobectomy: A 3-year follow-up study. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 11:619841. PMID: 33633689.

Hürthle-Cell cancer with extensive vascular invasion has a higher risk of recurrence than follicular-cell cancer

While only 10% of all thyroid cancer cases are follicular cancers and 5% from Hürthle-cell cancers, they are both felt to be more severe than other cancer subtypes such as papillary thyroid cancer, the most common type of thyroid cancer. However, there is very little data comparing outcomes such as overall survival, cancer recurrence and distant cancer spread between these two cancer subtypes. This study the clinical outcomes of patients with follicular cancer compared to Hürthle-cell thyroid cancer.
Matsuura D et al 2022 Follicular and Hürthle cell carcinoma: Comparison of clinicopathological features and clinical outcomes. Thyroid 32:245–254.

Is lenvatinib better than sorafenib as first-line treatment of thyroid cancer that no longer responds to radioactive iodine therapy?

When thyroid cancer spreads, a special type of chemotherapy agent, called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), are used as treatment. There are two TKIs approved for use in thyroid cancer, lenvatinib and sorafenib. In this study, the authors compared the efficacy of these two drugs in patients with progressive thyroid cancer that does not respond to radioactive iodine therapy.
Kim M et al 2022 Lenvatinib compared with sorafenib as a first-line treatment for radioactive iodine-refractory, progressive, differentiated thyroid carcinoma: Real-world outcomes in a multicenter retrospective cohort study. Thyroid. Epub 2022 May 17. PMID: 35443825.