Diet as a possible influencing factor in thyroid cancer incidence: the point of view of the nutritionist

Luigi Barrea, Gabriella Pugliese, Evelyn Frias-Toral, Daniela Laudisio, Dolores Rodriguez, Giovanni Vitale, Carla Colombo, Annamaria Colao, Silvia Savastano, Giovanna Muscogiuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The incidence of differentiated thyroid cancer has increased in the last decades all over the world. Different environmental factors are possible perpetrators of this exponential growth. Nutritional factors are among the main environmental factors studied for thyroid cancer in recent years. This review aims to overview the main dietary factors involved in thyroid cancer risk, providing specific nutrition recommendations from the endocrinological Nutritionist point of view. Among the single food, fish and shellfish are the primary natural source of iodine, selenium and vitamin D in the human diet. These nutrients are essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones; however, their consumption is not consistently related to thyroid cancer risk. The high intake of fruit and vegetables, probably due to their vitamin and antioxidant content, shows a weak inverse association with thyroid cancer risk. Alcohol, meat, or other food groups/nutrients showed no significant effect on thyroid cancer. In conclusion, to date, no definite association among dietary factors, specific dietary patterns, and thyroid cancer, and its clinical severity and aggressiveness have been found. However, it is essential to underline that in the future, prospective studies should be carried out to precisely evaluate the qualitative and quantitative intake of nutrients by patients to establish with more confidence a potential correlation between food intake and the occurrence and development of thyroid cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalPanminerva Medica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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