Obesity and thyroid cancer: epidemiologic associations and underlying mechanisms
Article first published online: 28 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2013 International Association for the Study of Obesity
Volume 14, Issue 12, pages 1006–1022, December 2013
How to Cite
Pazaitou-Panayiotou, K., Polyzos, S. A. and Mantzoros, C. S. (2013), Obesity and thyroid cancer: epidemiologic associations and underlying mechanisms. Obesity Reviews, 14: 1006–1022. doi: 10.1111/obr.12070
- Issue published online: 12 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 28 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 16 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 2 MAR 2013
- Insulin resistance;
- thyroid cancer
The incidence of thyroid cancer has been rising over the past few decades along with a parallel increase in obesity.
Observational studies have provided evidence for a potential association between the two. By contrast, clinical data for a link between type 2 diabetes mellitus, a condition strongly associated with obesity, and thyroid cancer are limited and largely not supportive of such an association.
Obesity leads to hypoadiponectinemia, a pro-inflammatory state, and insulin resistance, which, in turn, leads to high circulating insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, thereby possibly increasing the risk for thyroid cancer. Thus, insulin resistance possibly plays a pivotal role in underlying the observed association between obesity and thyroid cancer, potentially leading to the development and/or progression of thyroid cancer, through its interconnections with other factors including insulin-like growth factor-1, adipocytokines/cytokines and thyroid-stimulating hormone.
In this review, epidemiological and clinical evidence and potential mechanisms underlying the proposed association between obesity and thyroid cancer risk are reviewed. If the association between obesity and thyroid cancer demonstrated in observational studies proves to be causal, targeting obesity (and/or downstream mediators of risk) could be of importance in the prevention and management of thyroid cancer.