Obesity May Raise Thyroid Cancer Risk

(HealthDay News) — Obesity is associated with increased risk for thyroid cancer, according to a review published in Obesity Reviews.

Daniela Schmid, PhD, from the University of Regensburg in Germany, and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of adiposity measures and thyroid cancer using 21 articles which included data on 12,199 thyroid cancer cases.

Compared with normal-weight individuals, the risk for thyroid cancer was significantly greater for overweight and obese individuals (25% and 55% increased risk, respectively), the researchers found. For each 5-unit increase in BMI, 5-kg increase in weight, 5-cm increase in waist or hip circumference and 0.1-unit increase in waist-to-hip ratio, the risks for thyroid cancer were increased 30%, 5%, 5% and 14%, respectively. 

Obesity was significantly positively associated with papillary, follicular and anaplastic thyroid cancer in analysis by histologic type; an inverse association was seen for obesity with medullary thyroid cancer.

“Our findings imply that maintaining normal weight represents an important strategy for decreasing thyroid cancer risk in both men and women,” the researchers wrote. “More epidemiologic research is needed to discern potential variation in the effects of BMI across thyroid cancer histologic subtypes.”


  1. Schmid D, Ricci C, Behrens G, Leitzman MF. Adiposity and risk of thyroid cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015;doi:10.1111/obr.12321.