Association between PCOS and autoimmune thyroid disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Endocr Connect. 2018 Oct 26;7(11):1158-1167. doi: 10.1530/EC-18-0309.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most prevalent endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. PCOS has been associated with distinct metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and with autoimmune conditions, predominantly autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). AITD has been reported in 18-40% of PCOS women, depending on PCOS diagnostic criteria and ethnicity. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize the available evidence regarding the likelihood of women with PCOS also having AITD in comparison to a reference group of non-PCOS women. We systematically searched EMBASE and MEDLINE for non-interventional case control, cross-sectional, or cohort studies published until August 2017. The Ottawa-Newcastle Scale was used to assess the methodological quality of studies. Statistical meta-analysis was performed with R. Thirteen studies were selected for the present analysis, including 1,210 women diagnosed with PCOS and 987 healthy controls. AITD was observed in 26.03% and 9.72% of PCOS and control groups respectively. A significant association was detected between PCOS and chance of AITD (OR= 3.27, 95%CI 2.32-4.63). Notably, after geographical stratification, the higher risk of AITD in PCOS women persisted for Asians (OR= 4.56, 95%CI 2.47-8.43), Europeans (OR= 3.27, 95%CI 2.07-5.15), and South Americans (OR= 1.86, 95 %CI 1.05-3.29). AIDT is a frequent condition in PCOS patients, and might affect thyroid function. Thus, screening for thyroid function and thyroid-specific autoantibodies should be considered in patients with PCOS even in the absence of overt symptoms. This systematic review and meta-analysis is registered in PROSPERO under number CRD42017079676.