Sexual disparity and the risk of second primary thyroid cancer: a paradox

Mohammad Hussein, Tulane University School of Medicine
Lauren Mueller, Tulane University School of Medicine
Peter P. Issa, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Muhib Haidari, Tulane University School of Medicine
Lily Trinh, Tulane University School of Medicine
Eman Toraih, Tulane University School of Medicine
Emad Kandil, Tulane University School of Medicine


Background: Despite extensive research on sex differences in primary thyroid cancer, there is a lack of data on the role of sex in the risk of developing second primary thyroid cancer (SPTC). We aimed to investigate the risk of SPTC development according to patient sex, with an emphasis concerning previous malignancy location as well as age. Methods: Cancer survivors diagnosed with SPTC were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. The SEER*Stat software package obtained standardized incidence ratios (SIR) and absolute excess risks of subsequent thyroid cancer development. Results: Data for 9,730 (62.3%) females and 5,890 (37.7%) males were extracted for a total of 15,620 SPTC individuals. Asian/Pacific Islanders had the highest incidence of SPTC [SIR =2.67, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.49–2.86]. The risk of SPTC was higher in males (SIR =2.01, 95% CI: 1.94–2.08) than when compared to females (SIR =1.83, 95% CI: 1.79–1.88; P<0.001). Head and neck tumors had significantly higher SIRs for SPTC development in males when compared to females. Conclusions: Survivors of primary malignancies have an increased risk SPTC, especially males. Our work suggests that oncologists and endocrinologists may consider the need for increased surveillance of both male and female patients given their increased risk of SPTC.