Cadmium effects on the thyroid gland

Vitam Horm. 2014;94:391-425. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800095-3.00014-6.


Cadmium has been listed as one of the 126 priority pollutants and a category I carcinogen. Carcinogenic effects of cadmium on the lungs, testicles, and prostate are widely recognized, but there has been insufficient research on the effect of cadmium on the thyroid gland. Cadmium has the affinity to accumulate not only in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas but also in the thyroid gland. It has been established that cadmium blood concentration correlates positively with its accumulation in the thyroid gland. Women of fertile age have higher cadmium blood and urine concentrations than men. In spite of its redox inertia, cadmium brings about oxidative stress and damage to the tissue by indirect mechanisms. Mitochondria are considered to be the main intracellular targets for cadmium. Colloid cystic goiter, adenomatoid follicular hyperplasia with low-grade dysplasia and thyroglobulin hypo- and asecretion, and parafollicular cell diffuse and nodular hyperplasia and hypertrophy are often found in chronic cadmium toxicity.

Keywords: Cadmium toxicity; Preneoplastic lesions; Thyroid gland.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadmium / toxicity*
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / toxicity
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Thyroid Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / chemically induced


  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Cadmium