(HealthDay News) — Genetic and lifestyle factors are independently associated with incident thyroid cancer, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.
Researchers assessed whether adherence to a healthy lifestyle might modify the association between genetic variants and thyroid cancer. The analysis included 264,956 participants (ages 40 to 69 years) identified from the UK Biobank.
During a median follow-up of 11.1 years, 423 incident thyroid cancers were identified. Higher polygenic risk scores (PRS) were associated with a higher risk of thyroid cancer (hazard ratio, 2.25).
An unfavorable lifestyle was associated with a higher risk of thyroid cancer as well (hazard ratio, 1.93). The lifestyle factors researchers assessed were diet, physical activity, weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
An unfavorable lifestyle was associated with thyroid cancer in the group with higher genetic risk (favorable vs unfavorable hazard ratio, 0.52). The highest risk of thyroid cancer was seen among patients with both a high PRS and an unfavorable lifestyle (hazard ratio, 4.89).
“The findings of this study suggest that adherence to a healthier lifestyle could attenuate the deleterious role of genetic factors on the risk of thyroid cancer, especially in individuals at a high genetic risk,” the authors wrote. “Hence, lifestyle interventions may be beneficial for preventing thyroid cancer, especially in individuals with a high genetic predisposition.”