Association of Metabolic Health and Central Obesity With the Risk of Thyroid Cancer: Data from the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study

Background:It is unknown whether the risk of thyroid cancer differs among metabolically healthy/unhealthy, normal-weight, or obese women. We aimed to assess the association of metabolic health and obesity with thyroid cancer risk. Methods:The Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study is a population-based prospective cohort study. Data were obtained from 173,343 participants (age {greater than or equal to}40 years) enrolled from 2004 to 2013. Obese participants were those with body mass index (BMI) {greater than or equal to}25 kg/m2. Participants with abnormalities in three of these indices were considered metabolically unhealthy: triglycerides, blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol), waist circumference (WC), and fasting glucose levels. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for thyroid cancer risk associated with metabolic health and obesity. Results:Compared to non-obese women without metabolic abnormalities, metabolically unhealthy women, either normal-weight or obese, had an increased risk of thyroid cancer (HR [95% CI]=1.57[1.02-2.40] and 1.71[1.21-2.41], respectively). Significant association was not observed in men. Thyroid cancer risk was higher among non-obese women with high WC ({greater than or equal to}85 cm; HR [95% CI]=1.62[1.03-2.56]) than in non-obese women with low WC, and in obese women with low HDL-cholesterol (<50 mg/dL; HR[95% CI]=1.75[1.26-2.42]) compared to non-obese women with high HDL-cholesterol.

Conclusions:Metabolically unhealthy women or women with central adiposity may be at an increased thyroid cancer risk despite normal BMI.

Impact:This study suggests that women with central obesity and metabolically abnormality despite normal BMI may constitute a target group for thyroid cancer prevention and control programs.