The clinical courses of 91 patients with radiation-associated thyroid cancer were compared with courses in a control population. Radiation-associated carcinoma appears to be a disease of younger persons, and 90% of the tumors are papillary. No anaplastic or medullary tumors were observed. Ninety percent of the tumors were larger than those found in an autopsy series that surveyed for "biologically benign" thyroid tumors. There was a higher incidence of multicentric disease, locally invasive disease, and distant metastases in the population that had had x-ray exposure. Although the population with x-ray exposure had had more aggressive treatment, more recurrences were present in patients who had had radiation therapy. The death rate was similar in both groups. Parathyroid adenoma occurred more frequently in the population that had radiation exposure than in controls and appears to be a radiation-associated illness.
(Arch Intern Med 138:1631-1634, 1978)