Autoimmune Thyroid Disease and Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma: A Review of the Mechanisms That Explain an Intriguing and Exciting Relationship

Hernando Vargas-Uricoechea


Autoimmune thyroid disease is a complex and highly frequent disease, where a wide variety of genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors (among others) come together and interact, and is characterized by the presence of two clinical outcomes: hypothyroidism (in Hashimotos thyroiditis) and hyperthyroidism (in Graves-Basedow disease). For its part, differentiated thyroid carcinoma (mainly papillary carcinoma) is the most common type of cancer affecting the thyroid (and one of the most prevalent worldwide). An important co-occurrence between autoimmune thyroid disease and differentiated thyroid carcinoma has been documented. In this article, studies that have evaluated possible associations and relationships between autoimmune thyroid disease and differentiated thyroid cancer are systematically described and summarized. To date, the underlying mechanism that explains this association is inflammation; however, the characteristics and designs of the studies evaluated do not yet allow a causal relationship between the two entities to be established. These aspects have made it difficult to establish causality in the continuum of the pathogenesis between both conditions.

World J Oncol.2024;15(1):14-27


Thyroid cancer; Thyroiditis; Autoimmune; Hypothyroidism; Hyperthyroidism

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