Skip to main content

Breast cancer and thyroid diseases: analysis of 867 consecutive cases



The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of breast cancer with thyroid diseases. Many authors have already studied the possible relationship between these two diseases, but the results are nowadays conflicting.

Materials and methods

Our study examining 867 patients with breast cancer (862 women and 5 men, average age = 61 years old) of whom 141 also had thyroid disease evaluated the recurrence of thyroid diseases and their association with different types of breast cancer. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS software for Windows; we used nonparametric tests (Chi-square and Mann–Whitney), and the level of significance was set at p < 0.05.


We found a significant association between breast cancer diagnosed after menopause and thyroid disease (p < 0.003). Moreover, we analyzed the role of thyroid autoimmunity identifying an association between chronic autoimmune thyroiditis and breast cancer diagnosed before menopause (p < 0.05). Regarding receptor profile of breast carcinoma, we have found an increased expression of estrogen receptors in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis compared to patients with any other thyroid diseases (p < 0.03). Contrariwise, we do not have found any difference between the group with every thyroid disease and the group without thyroid disease (p < 1.00). We did not find other statistically significant associations with breast cancer’s parameters like family history, tumor size, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, cancer clinical and pathological stage, differentiation grade and expression of Ki67, p53 and Her2 in the two main groups with or without thyroid disease. Likewise, we did not found other statistically significant association between hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and breast cancer.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Dionigi G et al (2014) Intraoperative neuromonitoring in thyroid surgery: a point prevalence survey on utilization, management, and documentation in Italy. Updates Surg 66(4):269–276

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Myhill J et al (1966) Thyroid function in breast cancer. Acta Endocrinol (Copenh) 51(2):290–300

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Sicher K et al (1967) Thyroid activity in relation to prognosis in mammary cancer. Br J Cancer 21(3):512–518

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Muller I et al (2011) High prevalence of breast cancer in patients with benign thyroid diseases. J Endocrinol Invest 34(5):349–352

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Michalaki V et al (2009) Breast cancer in association with thyroid disorders. J Balk Union Oncol 14(3):425–428

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Grani G et al (2012) Thyroid diseases in women with breast cancer. Clin Ter 163(6):e401–e404

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Tazebay UH et al (2000) The mammary gland iodide transporter is expressed during lactation and in breast cancer. Nat Med 6(8):871–878

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. An JH et al (2015) A possible association between thyroid cancer and breast cancer. Thyroid 25(12):1330–1338

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Davies TF (1994) The thyrotrophin receptors spread themselves around. J Clin Endocrinol Metabol 79:1232–1238

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Conde I et al (2006) Influence of thyroid hormone receptors on breast cancer cell proliferation. Ann Oncol 17(1):60–64

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Kuijpens JL et al (2005) Hypothyroidism might be related to breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Thyroid 15(11):1253–1259

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Farahati J et al (2012) Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies are associated with the absence of distant metastases in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Clin Chem Lab Med 50(4):709–714

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Muller I et al (2014) Does thyroid peroxidase provide an antigenic link between thyroid autoimmunity and breast cancer? Int J Cancer 134(7):1706–1714

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Giustarini E et al (2006) Thyroid autoimmunity in patients with malignant and benign breast diseases before surgery. Eur J Endocrinol 154(5):645–649

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Prinzi N et al (2014) Prevalence of breast cancer in thyroid diseases: results of a cross-sectional study of 3,921 patients. Breast Cancer Res Treat 144(3):683–688

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Hardefeldt PJ et al (2012) Benign thyroid disease is associated with breast cancer: a meta-analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat 133(3):1169–1177

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Gogas J et al (2001) Autoimmune thyroid disease in women with breast carcinoma. Eur J Surg Oncol 27:626–630

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Smyth PPA (2003) The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res 2003(5):235–238

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Giani G et al (1996) Relation between breast cancer and thyroid disease: relevance of autoimmune thyroid disorders in breast malignancy. J Clin Endocrinol Metabol 81:990–994

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to C. Chiappa.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors have stated that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

No informed consent.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Chiappa, C., Rovera, F., Rausei, S. et al. Breast cancer and thyroid diseases: analysis of 867 consecutive cases. J Endocrinol Invest 40, 179–184 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Breast cancer
  • Breast surgery
  • Breast treatment
  • Thyroid disease
  • Autoimmune thyroiditis