Perspective from Salvatore Vaccarella, PhD
Disclosures: Schuster-Bruce reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
April 13, 2022
2 min read
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Thyroid cancer burden on rise in US, Europe

Perspective from Salvatore Vaccarella, PhD
Disclosures: Schuster-Bruce reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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A new study has found an increase in thyroid cancer incidence rates over a 30-year period in many countries, including the United States and several countries in the European Union.

For the analysis, James Schuster-Bruce, BSc, MBChB, specialist registrar in ear, nose and throat and head and neck surgery at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London, and colleagues aimed to examine trends in mortality, incidence and disability-adjusted life-years associated with thyroid cancer from 1990 to 2019. The researchers looked at 15 countries in the European Union along with the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway (EU15+).

Thyroid_cancer_Adobe_158993365
Source: Adobe Stock

The observational cross-sectional analysis featured data from the Global Burden of Disease Study database. Researchers extracted age-standardized incidence rates, age-standardized mortality rates, and for individual EU15+ countries for each of the years studied, and calculated mortality-to-incidence indexes.

James Schuster-Bruce

Results indicated that 13 of 19 countries (68%) had a rise in the average annual percentage change in age-standardized incidence rates across the study period (range, 0.2%-2.5%). The two countries with the highest average annual percentage change were Australia (2.5; 95% CI, 2.3-2.7 per 100,000 population) and the United States (1.2; 95% CI, 1-1.3 per 100,000 population).

By using join-point regression analysis, researchers found age-standardized incidence rates mostly leveling off in recent years across most EU15+ nations since 1990. For the United States, the estimated annual percentage change from 2011 to 2019 was zero.

In addition, the only countries with increasing mortality trends and positive average annual percentage change were Australia (0.6; 95% CI, 0.2-1), Denmark (1; 95% CI, 0.8-1.3) and the United States (0.4; 95% CI, 0.4-0.5), whereas the remaining 16 countries displayed negative trends (range, 0.2 to 2.1). Moreover, there was a reduction in all EU15+ countries except Australia, Denmark and the United States.

“We report overall increases in the burden of thyroid cancer across the majority of EU15+ countries between 1990 and 2019, evidenced by plateaus in incidence rates and reductions in mortality and rates,” Schuster-Bruce and colleagues concluded. “However, in a number of countries, including the U.S., there are unfavorable increasing mortality and trends over this time period. Close observation of future time trends in thyroid cancer disease burden should be performed in the context of recent changes in international clinical practice guidelines, which have suggested more conservative diagnostic and management strategies.”