Higher incidence of thyroid cancer in volcanic area of Sicily

Nov 05, 2009

People living in volcanic areas may be at a higher risk for thyroid cancer, according to a new study published online November 5 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The increasing incidence of has been attributed to more sensitive screening, but recent evidence indicates that this may not be the only cause. Various environmental factors, such as those associated with volcanoes, have not been excluded as risk factors.

To study this, Gabriella Pellegriti, M.D., Ph.D., of the endocrinology division, University of Catania Medical School, Garibaldi-Nesima Hospital in Italy, and colleagues collected incidence [newly diagnosed cases] of thyroid cancers in Sicily from January 1, 2002 through December 31, 2004 to compare the cancer rates of residents living in the volcanic area of Mt. Etna of Catania with those in the rest of Sicily.

The researchers found that residents of the Catania province had a more than two times higher incidence of papillary thyroid cancer, but not follicular or medullary thyroid cancers, than elsewhere on the island. Also, papillary tumors from patients in Catania more frequently carried the BRAF V600E , which has been associated with more aggressive thyroid cancer.

The authors point out that a volcanic environment—which can produce toxic compounds that are suspended particulate matter and gases and elements that may pollute the water—may increase the incidence of thyroid cancer; however, the mechanism by which it affects risk is unknown.

"The striking increase in papillary thyroid cancer incidence that was associated with the Etna volcanic environment leads us to suggest that residents of other volcanic areas…could be at increased risk for thyroid cancer and, possibly, of other cancers," the authors write. "Although specific risk factors for thyroid cancer in this volcanic environment are still unknown, identification of these factors could help to better understand the cause(s) of the increasing thyroid cancer incidence in Europe and North America and perhaps to develop prevention measures."

Source: (news : web)

Explore further: Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Early detection critical in treating pediatric thyroid cancer

Feb 01, 2008

Efforts to treat pediatric papillary thyroid cancer are greatly improved by detecting the disease as early as possible, making the patient’s age the most important factor in determining a prognosis, according to new research ...

Scientists report thyroid cancer discovery

Nov 15, 2006

Canadian scientists say the discovery of a mutated protein in cells linked with thyroid cancer may lead to the development of drugs to fight such cancers.

Recommended for you

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

17 hours ago

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.