Recreational Physical Activity and Differentiated Thyroid Cancer Risk: A Pooled Analysis of Two Case-Control Studies

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Physical activity has been hypothesized to influence cancer occurrence through several mechanisms. To date, its relation with thyroid cancer risk has been examined in relatively few studies. We pooled 2 case-control studies conducted in Cuba and Eastern France to assess the relationship between self-reported practice of recreational physical activity since childhood and thyroid cancer risk.


This pooled study included 1,008 cases of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) matched with 1,088 controls (age range 9-35 and 17-60 years in the French and Cuban studies, respectively). Risk factors associated with the practice of recreational physical activity were estimated using OR and 95% CI. Logistic regressions were stratified by age class, country, and gender and were adjusted for ethnic group, level of education, number of pregnancies for women, height, BMI, and smoking status.


Overall, the risk of thyroid cancer was slightly reduced among subjects who reported recreational physical activity (OR = 0.8; 95% CI 0.5-1.0). The weekly frequency (i.e. h/week) seems to be more relevant than the duration (years).


Long-term recreational physical activity, practiced since childhood, may reduce the DTC risk. However, the mechanisms whereby the DTC risk decreases are not yet entirely clear.

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