RAI therapy for hyperthyroidism not linked to overall cancer risk

THURSDAY, September 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Pooled cancer risk after exposure to radioactive iodine therapy (RAI) for hyperthyroidism is not significantly elevated, according to a review published online September 17 in JAMA network open.

Sung Ryul Shim, Ph.D., of Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul, and colleagues performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of data from studies examining cancer incidence and mortality specific to site after RAI treatment for hyperthyroidism.

Based on data from 12 studies (479,452 participants), the researchers found that the overall cancer incidence ratio was 1.02 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95 to 1.09) and the combined cancer mortality ratio was 0.98 (95% CI, 0.92 to 1.04) for exposure to RAI therapy compared to non- exposure. No statistically significant increase was observed in the risk of specific cancers, except for the incidence of thyroid cancer (standardized incidence ratio, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.19 to 2 , 92) and mortality (standardized mortality ratio, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.37 to 3.59). RAI was significantly associated with breast cancer and solid cancer mortality (breast cancer mortality for 370 MBq: 1.35; solid cancer mortality for 370 MBq: 1.14), based on two studies evaluating the dose-response. “These results suggest that the risks of radiation-induced cancer following RAI therapy for hyperthyroidism are low and, in observational studies, may only be detectable at higher levels of administered dose,” write the authors.

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