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Weak or absent evidence for the association of HLA-DR antigens with risk of thyroid carcinoma: a meta-analysis of observational studies


Manju Mamtani
Lata Medical Research Foundation
12023 Waterway Rdg
San Antonio
TX 78249
Tel: +1 210 602 5199
Fax: +1 210 558 3177

John R. Porterfield
Center for the Study of Community Health
University of Alabama at Birmingham
1530 3rd Avenue South KB 417
AL 35294
Tel: +1 205 934 9086
Fax: +1 205 975 6708


Inconsistent reports of associations between human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR and thyroid cancers exist. We conducted a comprehensive search of the PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases. Using random-effects modeling, subgroup analyses, meta-regression and prediction interval (PI) estimation, we combined the existing evidence from 13 studies (977 cases of thyroid cancer and 3735 controls). Only HLA-DR1 and HLA-DR11 were significantly associated; however, the evidence for HLA-DR11 came from only three studies while that for HLA-DR1 had large between-study heterogeneity. All the PIs estimated in the study straddled unity. Therefore, current evidence for the studied association is incomplete as well as uncertain. Attempts to include HLA-DR typing as a prognostic or therapeutic marker may be premature at this time.