Thyroid hormones and cancer: A comprehensive review of preclinical and clinical studies

Eilon Krashin, Agnieszka Piekiełko-Witkowska, Martin Ellis, Osnat Ashur-Fabian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thyroid hormones take major part in normal growth, development and metabolism. Over a century of research has supported a relationship between thyroid hormones and the pathophysiology of various cancer types. In vitro studies as well as research in animal models demonstrated an effect of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 on cancer proliferation, apoptosis, invasiveness and angiogenesis. Thyroid hormones mediate their effects on the cancer cell through several non-genomic pathways including activation of the plasma membrane receptor integrin αvβ3. Furthermore, cancer development and progression are affected by dysregulation of local bioavailability of thyroid hormones. Case-control and population-based studies provide conflicting results regarding the association between thyroid hormones and cancer. However, a large body of evidence suggests that subclinical and clinical hyperthyroidism increase the risk of several solid malignancies while hypothyroidism may reduce aggressiveness or delay the onset of cancer. Additional support is provided from studies in which dysregulation of the thyroid hormone axis secondary to cancer treatment or thyroid hormone supplementation was shown to affect cancer outcomes. Recent preclinical and clinical studies in various cancer types have further shown promising outcomes following chemical reduction of thyroid hormones or inhibition or their binding to the integrin receptor. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the preclinical and clinical research conducted so far.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cancer
  • Thyroid hormone
  • Thyroxine
  • Triiodothyronine
  • αvβ3 integrin


Dive into the research topics of 'Thyroid hormones and cancer: A comprehensive review of preclinical and clinical studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this