Guignard, R., Truong, T., Rougier, Y., Baron-Dubourdieu, D., & Guénel, P. (2007). Alcohol drinking, tobacco smoking, and anthropometric characteristics as risk factors for thyroid cancer: a countrywide case-control study in New Caledonia. American journal of epidemiology, 166(10), 1140–9. doi:10.1093/aje/kwm204
Exceptionally high incidence rates of thyroid cancer are observed in New Caledonia, particularly in Melanesian women. To investigate further the etiology of thyroid cancer and to clarify the reasons of this elevated incidence, the authors conducted a countrywide population-based case-control study in this multiethnic population. The study included 332 cases with histologically verified papillary or follicular carcinoma (293 women and 39 men) diagnosed in 1993-1999 and 412 population controls (354 women and 58 men) frequency matched by gender and 5-year age group. Thyroid cancer was negatively associated with tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking, but no inverse dose-response relation was observed. Height was positively associated with thyroid cancer, particularly in men. Strong positive associations with weight and body mass index were observed in Melanesian women aged 50 years or more, with an odds ratio of 5.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.5, 20.3) for a body mass index of 35 kg/m2 or greater compared with normal-weight women, and there was a clear dose-response trend. This study clarifies the role of overweight for thyroid cancer in postmenopausal women. Because of the high prevalence of obesity among Melanesian women of New Caledonia, this finding may explain in part the exceptionally elevated incidence of thyroid cancer in this group.