Endocrine disrupting chemical mixture exposure and risk of papillary thyroid cancer in U.S. military personnel: A nested case-control study

Hristina Denic-Roberts, Jordan McAdam, Andreas Sjodin, Mark Davis, Richard Jones, Mary H. Ward, Thanh D. Hoang, Shuangge Ma, Yawei Zhang, Jennifer A. Rusiecki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Single-pollutant methods to evaluate associations between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and thyroid cancer risk may not reflect realistic human exposures. Therefore, we evaluated associations between exposure to a mixture of 18 EDCs, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), brominated flame retardants, and organochlorine pesticides, and risk of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), the most common thyroid cancer histological subtype. We conducted a nested case-control study among U.S. military servicemembers of 652 histologically-confirmed PTC cases diagnosed between 2000 and 2013 and 652 controls, matched on birth year, sex, race/ethnicity, military component (active duty/reserve), and serum sample timing. We estimated mixture odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), and standard errors (SE) for associations between pre-diagnostic serum EDC mixture concentrations, overall PTC risk, and risk of histological subtypes of PTC (classical, follicular), adjusted for body mass index and military branch, using quantile g-computation. Additionally, we identified relative contributions of individual mixture components to PTC risk, represented by positive and negative weights (w). A one-quartile increase in the serum mixture concentration was associated with a non-statistically significant increase in overall PTC risk (OR = 1.19; 95% CI = 0.91, 1.56; SE = 0.14). Stratified by histological subtype and race (White, Black), a one-quartile increase in the mixture was associated with increased classical PTC risk among those of White race (OR = 1.59; 95% CI = 1.06, 2.40; SE = 0.21), but not of Black race (OR = 0.95; 95% CI = 0.34, 2.68; SE = 0.53). PCBs 180, 199, and 118 had the greatest positive weights driving this association among those of White race (w = 0.312, 0.255, and 0.119, respectively). Findings suggest that exposure to an EDC mixture may be associated with increased classical PTC risk. These findings warrant further investigation in other study populations to better understand PTC risk by histological subtype and race.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171342
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Multi-pollutant
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl
  • Quantile-g computation


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