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Thyroid. 1997 Oct;7(5):733-41.

Incidence and clinical characteristics of thyroid carcinoma after iodine prophylaxis in an endemic goiter country.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Innsbruck, Austria.


Iodized salt prophylaxis has been performed in Austria since 1963. Through this approach, mean urinary iodine excretion has been normalized to 144+/-23.5 microg/g creatinine per day. Thus Tyrol is no longer an endemic goiter area. We have analyzed the impact of iodized salt prophylaxis on thyroid cancer (TC) comparing data from the early 1960s with those corresponding to the period 1986 to 1995, when iodine supply was normalized. The study included 439 patients from Tyrol and Southern Tyrol. The incidence of TC in Tyrol has risen during the past decades from 3.07 between in 1957 and 1970 to 7.8 between 1990 and 1994 (CR/100000/year). We observed a rise in the percentage of differentiated adenocarcinomas (56% to 91.5%) with a predominance of papillary TC (54.4%) along with a decrease of anaplastic TC. In addition to these histological features, a shift to less advanced TNM stages, eg, T1-3, N0-1a, M0, was obvious, increasing from 29% to 72.2%, whereas advanced tumors, ie, T4 or N1b or M1, decreased from 71% to 28%. These changes have significantly improved prognosis. The current 5-year survival rate is 90.7% as compared with a rate of 73% in the 1960s; the values for 7-year survival are 89% and 48%, respectively. The marked effects of age, tumor stages, and histology on prognosis were confirmed with the Kaplan-Meier method. We conclude that together with normalization of iodine supply in an endemic goiter region the epidemiological profile of TC has changed. Even though the incidence of TC has risen, prognosis has significantly improved due to a shift towards differentiated forms of TC that are diagnosed at earlier stages.

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