Comparing the rate and extent of malignancy in surgically excised thyroid nodules across race and ethnicity

Published:September 28, 2021DOI:


      • Blacks had a lower risk of thyroid malignancy compared to other racial groups.
      • Blacks with thyroid cancer were less likely to present with extensive disease.
      • Socioeconomic factors did not alter the racial disparity of thyroid cancer.



      Few studies have compared the features of thyroid cancer among races and ethnicities. We hypothesized that race and ethnicity may influence the frequency and features of thyroid malignancy in thyroid nodules.


      This was a retrospective chart review of patients between 2013 and 2020 who underwent thyroidectomy.


      In the analysis of 2737 patients, thyroid cancer was less prevalent among Blacks (24.0% vs Whites 52.1%, Hispanics 58.7%, Asians 71.7%, and Others 57.9%, p < 0.001). Thyroid cancer in Blacks was less likely to have extrathyroidal extension (9.7% vs Whites 18.6%, Hispanics 25.8%, Asians 18.2%, and Others 17.8%, p = 0.01), overall nodal involvement (12.4% vs Whites 31.1%, Hispanics 37.5%, Asians 36.3%, and Others 30.1%, p < 0.01), and lateral neck metastasis (4.4% vs Whites 10.8%, Hispanics 6.3%, Asians 13.2%, and Others 9.6%, p = 0.02).


      Race and ethnicity may play important roles in the risk of malignancy as well as in the extent of thyroid cancer.


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