Thyroid dysfunction during treatment with systemic antineoplastic therapy for childhood cancer: A systematic review

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2023 Apr:184:103958. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2023.103958. Epub 2023 Mar 11.


Thyroid dysfunction is known to occur following radiotherapy or chemotherapy for childhood cancer. Thyroid dysfunction during treatment for childhood cancer has, however, not been studied extensively, although thyroid hormones are of utmost importance during childhood. This information is needed to develop adequate screening protocols and may be of special importance with upcoming drugs, such as checkpoint inhibitors, which are highly associated with thyroid dysfunction in adults. In this systematic review we have evaluated the occurrence and risk factors for thyroid dysfunction in children during treatment with systemic antineoplastic drugs, up to three months after the end of therapy. Two review authors independently performed the study selection, data extraction and risk of bias assessment of included studies. After an extensive search (January 2021), in total six heterogeneous articles were included, reporting on 91 childhood cancer patients with a thyroid function test during treatment with systemic antineoplastic therapy for childhood cancer. All studies had risk of bias issues. Primary hypothyroidism was found in 18% of children treated with high dose interferon-α (HDI-α) and in 0-10% after tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Transient euthyroid sick syndrome (ESS) was common (in 42-100%) during treatment with systematic multi-agent chemotherapy. Only one study addressed possible risk factors, showing different types of treatment to increase the risk. However, the exact prevalence, risk factors and clinical consequences of thyroid dysfunction remain unclear. Prospective high-quality studies including large study samples are needed to longitudinally assess the prevalence, risk factors and possible consequences of thyroid dysfunction during childhood cancer treatment.

Keywords: Childhood cancer; Systemic antineoplastic therapy; Thyroid dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Thyroid Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Thyroid Diseases* / epidemiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents