Papillary thyroid cancer incidence rates vary significantly by birthplace in Asian American women

Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Mar;22(3):479-85. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9720-5. Epub 2011 Jan 5.


Objective: To investigate how birthplace influences the incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Asian American women.

Methods: Birthplace- and ethnic-specific age-adjusted and age-specific incidence rates were calculated using data from the California Cancer Registry for the period 1988-2004. Birthplace was statistically imputed for 30% of cases using a validated imputation method based on age at Social Security number issuance. Population estimates were obtained from the US Census. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for foreign-born vs. US-born women.

Results: Age-adjusted incidence rates of papillary thyroid cancer among Filipina (13.7 per 100,000) and Vietnamese (12.7) women were more than double those of Japanese women (6.2). US-born Chinese (IRR = 0.48, 95% CI: 0.40-0.59) and Filipina women (IRR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.58-0.96) had significantly higher rates than those who were foreign-born; the opposite was observed for Japanese women (IRR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.17-2.08). The age-specific patterns among all foreign-born Asian women and US-born Japanese women showed a slow steady increase in incidence until age 70. However, among US-born Asian women (except Japanese), substantially elevated incidence rates during the reproductive and menopausal years were evident.

Conclusions: Ethnic- and birthplace-variation in papillary thyroid cancer incidence can provide insight into the etiology of this increasingly common and understudied cancer.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asian Americans*
  • California
  • Carcinoma
  • Carcinoma, Papillary
  • China / ethnology
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Philippines / ethnology
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms* / ethnology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vietnam / ethnology