Thyroid : official journal of the American Thyroid Association 2017 11 21() doi 10.1089/thy.2017.0159
Radiation exposure is a well-known risk factor for thyroid cancer. However, the specific effects of diagnostic radiation exposure on thyroid cancer risk are controversial. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effects of diagnostic radiation exposure on thyroid cancer risk.
The PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched to identify eligible studies. Summary odds ratio (OR) estimates and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to compute the risk of thyroid cancer using fixed- and random-effects models. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed to evaluate the potential heterogeneity.
Nine studies from twelve publications were included in the meta-analysis. Overall exposure to diagnostic radiation exposure was associated with a significantly increased thyroid cancer risk (summary OR=1.52, 95% CI=1.13-2.04). The subgroup and sensitivity analyses revealed similar results. By type of exposure, exposure to CT scans (OR=1.46, 95% CI=1.27-1.68) or dental x-rays (OR=1.69, 95% CI=1.17-2.44) were associated with an increased thyroid cancer risk. Head and neck (OR=1.31, 95% CI=1.02-1.69) and chest (OR=1.71, 95% CI=1.09-2.69) exposure to diagnostic radiation was associated with an increased thyroid cancer risk.
The results of this meta-analysis indicates that diagnostic radiation exposure is associated with an increased thyroid cancer risk. Therefore, to the extent that it will not compromise the information being sought, radiation exposure to the thyroid should be minimized during diagnostic examinations.