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Benign Thyroid Disease Is Associated With Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis

Prue J. Hardefeldt, G. Eslick, S. Edirimanne
Published 2012 · Medicine

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The controversial relationship between benign thyroid diseases and breast cancer (BC) has been investigated for over 50 years. Despite extensive population studies, the results as a whole have been inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to collate and analyse available data, calculating a pooled odds ratio (OR) of the risk of BC in patients diagnosed with benign thyroid diseases. Studies were obtained from a database search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Current Contents Connect and Google Scholar with additional cross checking of reference lists. Inclusion criteria required a confirmed diagnosis of a benign thyroid disease, reporting of an OR or data to calculate an OR (and 95% confidence interval, CI) and the use of an internal control group as the comparator. Collated data was assessed for heterogeneity and a pooled OR calculated. 28 studies were included in the meta-analysis. There was significant evidence of an increased risk of BC in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis, evident in a pooled OR 2.92 (95% CI 2.13–4.01). In addition, the results supported an increased risk associated with the presence of anti-thyroid antibodies (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.63–2.50) and goitre (OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.39–3.69). Subgroup analysis of antibody presence revealed increased risk associated with both anti-TPO (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.82–3.83) and anti-TG (2.71, 95% CI 1.58–4.69). Quantitative analysis of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism was not significant. While these results indicate an association between thyroid auto-immunity and BC, further prospective studies are required to definitively prove causality.
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