Anthropometry and Thyroid Cancer Risk

  • Cari Meinhold Kitahara
  • Amy Berrington de González


Thyroid cancer is a relatively rare malignancy, accounting for less than two percent of all cancer diagnoses, but the incidence of thyroid cancer has risen dramatically over the past thirty years in many parts of the world. This increase in thyroid cancer incidence has paralleled the shift in the distribution of body weight over the same period. However, the only established environmental risk factor for thyroid cancer is ionizing radiation, particularly in childhood and adolescence. Until recently, there were relatively few epidemiologic studies of the association between body size and thyroid cancer. Evidence from early case–control studies suggested that greater body mass index (BMI) may increase the risk of thyroid cancer in women, and recent case–control and prospective studies suggest a similar positive association for men. Several epidemiologic studies have also suggested that height is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Although little is understood about the potential underlying mechanisms for the associations of anthropometric factors with thyroid cancer risk, thyroid-stimulating hormones and iodine status may play a role. Future studies with information on central adiposity, obesity-related biomarkers, and weight at different ages may provide greater insight into the etiology of this malignancy.


Body Mass Index Thyroid Cancer Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma Thyroid Stimulate Hormone Rest Energy Expenditure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Body mass index


Hazards ratio


Odds ratio


Relative risk






Thyroid-stimulating hormone



This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH and the National Cancer Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cari Meinhold Kitahara
    • 1
  • Amy Berrington de González
  1. 1.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics/National Cancer InstituteRadiation Epidemiology BranchRockvilleUSA

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