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Body mass index and incidence of thyroid cancer in Korea: the Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II



The prevalence of thyroid cancer and obesity has increased worldwide. However, their association has remained controversial and few studies have been performed in Asia. Our study evaluated the correlation between the incidence of thyroid cancer and body mass index (BMI) in Korea.


This is a multi-centered, prospective cohort study from the Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II. A total of 141,157 individuals between 1994 and 2012, including 1546 newly developed thyroid cancer patients, were enrolled. Subjects were divided into four groups on the BMI. Person-years, incidence rate, and hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using the Cox proportional hazard model.


The increasing trends of HRs of thyroid cancer in men and women younger than 50 years of age were observed as BMI increased (P trend <0.001 in both groups). However, in women older than 50 years of age, there was no association between thyroid cancer incidence and BMI.


Our findings suggest that positive association between thyroid cancer incidence and high BMI in men and women under 50 years old. Based on these results, we suggest that obese men and women under 50 years old are better to be considered for the higher possibility of thyroid cancer development, and more efforts are needed to control weight gain.

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This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A1008247).

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Correspondence to Eo Rin Cho.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A1008247). This study was funded by a Grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI14C2686).

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Shin, HY., Jee, Y.H. & Cho, E.R. Body mass index and incidence of thyroid cancer in Korea: the Korean Cancer Prevention Study-II. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 143, 143–149 (2017).

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  • Body mass index
  • Cancer
  • Incidence
  • Obesity
  • Thyroid cancer