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January 5, 1963

Cancer and Thyroid Function

Author Affiliations

Iowa City

From the Departments of Surgery and Internal Medicine, University Hospitals.

JAMA. 1963;183(1):30-32. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.63700010003014a

MALIGNANT DISEASE, according to a remote clinical impression, occurs less commonly in thyrotoxic persons than it does in others. Some references support this association, but not all agree.1-4

The unknown factors regulating cellular growth challenge medical science. Clinicians recognize that in some patients a neoplasm may grow wildly and cause death within a short time, whereas a similar neoplasm in another patient may grow slowly and allow prolonged survival. In a few well-documented instances, the growth of malignant metastatic lesions has stopped abruptly for prolonged periods without apparent cause.5 Presumably the rate of growth of malignant cells is dependent upon unidentified factors which regulate metabolic activity of these cells.

Thyroid activity usually reflects the underlying state of cellular metabolic activity. Does occurrence of cancer vary with altered thyroid metabolic states? This question provides the central theme of the following study which compares the incidence and type of