Risk factors for medullary thyroid carcinoma: a pooled analysis

Cancer Causes Control. 2002 May;13(4):365-72. doi: 10.1023/a:1015263718760.


Objective: To investigate risk factors for medullary thyroid cancer (MTC).

Methods: We conducted a pooled analysis of 14 case-control studies from Europe, North America, and Asia, including 67 medullary cancers (43 women and 24 men) diagnosed in ten studies. Of the original 4776, we selected five controls per case matched on study, gender, and age. The pooled odds ratios (OR) were estimated using conditional logistic regression.

Results: Education, weight, and body mass were not associated with MTC, but a significant positive relationship was seen with height (OR = 2.6 for highest vs lowest tertile). Significant excess risks were associated with a history of thyroid nodules (OR = 12), hypertension (OR = 2.3), gallbladder disease (OR = 4.3), and allergies (OR = 2.2). Among current smokers, a decreased risk of MTC was observed with increasing number of cigarettes. The risk was significantly elevated among women having a first birth after age 25 years, but no clear pattern emerged for other reproductive factors.

Conclusions: Although the number of MTC was small, we detected several significant associations, including prior thyroid and other diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asia / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Medullary / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gallbladder Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Thyroid Nodule / complications