TSH levels do not associate with the risk of papillary thyroid microcarcinoma in Korean patients
Background: Thyroid cancer has been increasing worldwide and became one of the most popular cancer. Recent reports have shown that an elevated thyrotropin(thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH) level is associated with risk of thyroid cancer. Nevertheless, the association between TSH level and thyroid cancer risk is not yet known in patients diagnosed with papillary thyroid microcarcinoma (PTMC).
Methods: We collected cases of 212 patients who underwent thyroid surgery and were diagnosed with PTMC between 2009 and 2011. We also investigated data from control group patients who were diagnosed with benign nodules ≤ 1 cm in size by US-guided fine needle aspiration. Patients who have multinodular disease, were not euthyroid or took thyroid medication were excluded.
Results: The mean age of all patients was 52.5±16.0 years and 70.8% were women. The mean age of those with PTMC was significantly lower than that of the control group. The mean TSH level was 1.47±0.93 mIU/L, and the mean free T4 level was 15.96±2.32 pmol/L. There was no difference in TSH level between the PTMC and control groups (1.49±0.93 mIU/L vs. 1.46±0.76 mIU/L, P=0.93). After adjusting for age, TSH level was not correlated with tumor size (r=0.02, P=0.77) in the PTMC group.
Conclusion: TSH levels did not differ between PTMC patients and control group. Therefore, further studies are needed to use serum TSH as a tumor marker for thyroid nodule in euthyroid patients.
Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research project.
Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector