EPIC Working Groups - Cancer Working Groups

The Thyroid Cancer Working Group

The incidence of thyroid carcinomas has been dramatically increasing over the past 20—30 years in many industrialized countries, making it the second most common cancer after breast cancer in young women. A large part of this increase has been due to diagnostic improvements, but other changes may be involved. Little is known about thyroid cancer etiology so far; exposure to ionizing radiation (especially during childhood) and history of benign thyroid disease are the only well-established risk factors for differentiated thyroid carcinomas (the most common forms of thyroid cancer).

The aim of the recently created EPIC Thyroid Cancer Working Group is to explore the associations of nutrition, lifestyle, and reproductive factors with risk of thyroid cancer for the identification of modifiable risk factors to improve thyroid cancer prevention. This will be done through the analyses of questionnaire-based data and measured anthropometric variables, as well as through the measurement of selected biomarkers in prospectively collected biological samples.

Current activities of the Working Group include studies on anthropometry, endogenous hormones, reproductive factors, nutrition, alcohol intake, smoking, and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma. The Working Group also joined the NCI Pooling Project on anthropometry and thyroid cancer risk.


Selected publications:

  1. Rinaldi S et al, Body size and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinomas: findings from the EPIC study. Int J Cancer. 2012 Sep 15;131(6):E1004-14. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27601. Epub 2012 May 14. PMID: 22511178.

  2. Schmidt JA et al, Insulin-like growth factor-I and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinoma in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Mar 19. PMID: 24646451.

  3. Rinaldi S et al, Blood concentration of TSH, thyroglobulin, and thyroid hormones and risk of differentiated thyroid carcinomas: the EPIC study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Forthcoming 2014.

Contact details/Working Group leader

Rinaldi Sabina, PhD/Silvia Franceschi, MD
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC/WHO)
150 cours Albert Thomas, 69008 Lyon, France