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Thyroid Disfunction and Risk of Colorectal Cancer

By: Joshua Swore
Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2020

A population-based national study, presented as part of the 2020 virtual Digestive Disease Week (DDW; Abstract Su1015) and published in the journal of Gastroenterology, suggests patients with hypo- or hyperthyroidism may be at an increased risk for colorectal cancer. The authors found that men and seniors with either thyroid condition were particularly at risk. According to Muhammed Alikhan, MD, of the University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, and colleagues, “Given the prevalence of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, these findings support more prudent colorectal cancer screening in patients with either condition.”

The authors identified a cohort of patients with hypo- or hyperthyroidism and patients with a first-ever diagnosis of primary colorectal cancer from a commercially available database. Patients with a family history of colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease were excluded from the study. In total, 29,933,130 patients were eligible.

Researchers identified 2,455,220 patients with hypothyroidism and 338,110 patients with hyperthyroidism. The prevalence of colorectal cancer among these patients was found to be 0.41% and 0.36%, respectively, whereas patients without thyroid disfunction had a prevalence rate of 0.32%, indicating an increased risk to patients with thyroid disfunction. Men, compared with women, with hypo- or hyperthyroidism were found to be at increased risk for colorectal cancer (odds ratio = 1.37 and 1.29, respectively).

Risk of colorectal cancer in senior patients was also found to be higher among those with thyroid disfunction. In this older group (> 65 years) compared with younger patients, the research group found prevalence rates of colorectal cancer associated with hypothyroidism at 0.70% (odds ratio = 2.78) and with hyperthyroidism at 0.72% (odds ratio = 2.94). Younger patients with hypo- or hyperthyroidism exhibited prevalence rates of 0.18% and 0.17%, respectively.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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