Thyroid Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Is Waist Circumference a Predictive Factor for Thyroid Cancer?

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2020

According to research published in Cancer Management and Research, there may be a strong association between waist circumference and the risk of developing thyroid cancer. Ula M. Al-Jarhi, MD, of Cairo University, and colleagues noted that central adiposity appears to be a stronger predictive factor than body mass index (BMI) when correlated with the thyroid imaging reporting and data system (TIRADS).

The cross-sectional study included 203 patients, 19 of whom had thyroid cancer and 184 of whom had benign thyroid nodules. All patients had measurements taken of factors including waist circumference, hip circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, and BMI, and they were correlated to clinical features such as malignancy risk and ultrasonographic criteria.

Overall, patients with thyroid cancer were observed to have increased BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio measurements compared with patients with benign nodules. Waist circumference tended to be higher in patients with hypoechoic (103.1 ± 15.4 cm) and heterogeneous (103.8 ± 16.7 cm) nodules than in isoechoic (97.3 ± 15.5 cm) and hyperechoic (96.1 ± 10 cm) nodules (P = .046) and in patients with lymph node enlargement (P = .04). A significant association was noted between the presence of solid nodules and increased BMI, waist circumference, and hip circumference values (P < .05).

Waist circumference was found to be an independent predictive factor for thyroid cancer at a cutoff value of 108.5 cm (P = .003), reaching sensitivity (71.4%), specificity (68.7%), and AUC of 0.750, and at a combined cutoff value of 32.59 (P < .001) when including BMI (77.8% sensitivity, 68.4% specificity, AUC of 0.780). A meaningful association was also observed between waist circumference and TIRADS classification (P = .032). The association increased with classifications TR4b (moderately suspicious; 118.5 ± 12.9 cm) and TR5 (highly suspicious; 117.3 ± 13.9 cm) versus TR2 (not suspicious 114.1 ± 15.7 cm; P = .025 vs. .008, respectively).

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, please visit


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