Dysglycemia Linked With Advanced Thyroid Cancer in Those Aged 55 Years or Older

An illustration of cancer cells on the thyroid
An illustration of cancer cells on the thyroid
Study authors performed a retrospective review of a thyroid cancer cohort to evaluate the association between metabolic health and severity of thyroid cancer.

The following article is part of our coverage of the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting (ENDO 2021) that is being held virtually from March 20-23, 2021. Endocrinology Advisor‘s staff will report on the top research in hormone science and clinical care. Check back for the latest news from ENDO 2021.


An association has been found between poor metabolic health and advanced thyroid cancer among individuals aged 55 and older, according to research recently presented at the Endocrine Society’s ENDO 2021 conference, held virtually from March 20 to 23, 2021.

This analysis of the Scripps Clinic Thyroid Cancer Cohort comprised individuals with thyroid cancer included in the cohort between 2017 and 2020. The 148 included individuals had surgically confirmed thyroid cancer, an available lipid profile, and first available hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) from at least 6 months before diagnosis.

In this study, dyslipidemia was defined as having a total cholesterol of at least 200 mg/dL, tryglycerides of at least 150 mg/dL, or high-density lipoproteins (HDL) less than 40 mg/dL for men and less than 50 mg/dL for women. Dysglycemia was defined as HbA1c of at least 5.7%. The study researchers compared the stages of thyroid cancer among those with and without dyslipidemia and dysglycemia, with subgroup analysis isolating the 103 individuals aged 55 or older.

Results indicated that stage 2 to 4 thyroid cancer was present among a larger percentage of dysglycemic individuals compared with dyslipidemic individuals (36.3% vs 15.6%, respectively; P =.003). Subgroup analysis showed similar results, indicating that there was a higher proportion of dysglycemic individuals with stage 3 to 4 thyroid cancer (20% vs 2.7%; P =.01). Having both dyslipidemia and dysglycemia was associated with a greater likelihood of advanced thyroid cancer compared with having one or no abnormality.

The study authors concluded that an association exists between advanced stages of thyroid cancer and poor metabolic health among those aged 55 years or older, with dysglycemia and dyslipidemia showing the highest association with late-stage cancer. The authors indicated that further study is merited to understand the mechanisms behind dysglycemia’s effect on the severity of thyroid cancer.

Disclosures: One author declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

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Sharma P, Dhar C, Levine MJ, McCallum JD, Rodriguez-Martinez R. Effect of metabolic health on severity of thyroid cancer: the Scripps Clinic Thyroid Cancer Cohort analysis. Presented at: ENDO 2021; March 20-23, 2021. Session P53.