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Hypothyroidism May Improve Survival in Head, Neck Cancer

Study suggests there is an association, but more research needed

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Hypothyroidism seems to be associated with better survival in patients with advanced-stage head and neck cancers, according to a report in the October issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

Marc Nelson, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, and colleagues retrospectively studied 155 patients with advanced-stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma to examine the effect of hypothyroidism, which was defined as a thyrotropin level greater than 5.5 mIU/L.

The researchers found that 59 patients developed hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism was associated with significantly increased survival in unadjusted models and survival was still better (hazard ratio 0.62), but no longer statistically significant, after adjusting for the timing of hypothyroidism.

"Development of hypothyroidism may be associated with improved survival and increased recurrence-free survival. Larger, prospective studies appear warranted to test the beneficial effect of hypothyroidism," Nelson and colleagues conclude.

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