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Thyroid Cancer Risk Reflects Genetic, Lifestyle Interplay, Study Suggests

Investigators at Guangxi Medical University present findings from a prospective analysis of genetic-environmental interactions behind thyroid cancer in JAMA Network Open. Using data for almost 265,000 UK Biobank participants, the team considered meta-genome-wide association study-based polygenic risk scores for thyroid cancer in the context of lifestyle information scores that took participants' diet, physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, and weight into account. In more than 400 individuals who developed thyroid cancer over 10 to nearly 12 years of follow up, the authors saw ties between thyroid cancer development, unfavorable lifestyle patterns, and high scores on the thyroid cancer PRS, with favorable or unfavorable lifestyle features stratifying the thyroid cancer risk found in individuals who scored high on the PRS. "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 report, adding that "lifestyle interventions may be beneficial for preventing [thyroid cancer], especially in individuals with a high genetic predisposition."