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Breast Cancer Res. 2003;5(5):235-8. Epub 2003 Jul 29.

The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer.

Author information

1
Endocrine laboratory, Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, and Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Ireland. ppa.smyth@ucd.ie

Abstract

A renewal of the search for a link between breast cancer and thyroid disease has once again demonstrated an increased prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disease in patients with breast cancer. This is the most recent of many studies showing an association between a variety of thyroid disorders and breast cancer. Such an association is not surprising as both diseases are female predominant with a similar postmenopausal peak incidence. The significance of the presence of thyroid autoantibodies, particularly thyroid peroxidase antibodies, in serum from patients with breast cancer is unknown, but it has been suggested that antibody positivity is associated with better prognosis. One area in which thyroid and breast functions overlap is in the uptake and utilization of dietary iodide. Experimental findings showing the ability of iodine or iodine-rich seaweed to inhibit breast tumour development is supported by the relatively low rate of breast cancer in Japanese women who consume a diet containing iodine-rich seaweed. However, there is as yet no direct evidence that iodine, iodinated compounds, or a combination of iodine and selenium is the antimammary carcinogenic element in the Japanese diet. It remains to be resolved whether the perceived breast cancer-thyroid disease relationship is thyroid or iodine related or, in the case of thyroid autoantibodies, is the consequence of an immune response to the carcinoma. Is this response breast specific and does it relate to iodine status? These and many other questions await resolution before a definitive role in the natural history of breast carcinoma can be assigned to the thyroid.

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PMID:
12927031
PMCID:
PMC314438
DOI:
10.1186/bcr638
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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