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Journal of Thyroid Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 2454989, 7 pages
Research Article

Hypothyroidism in Pancreatic Cancer: Role of Exogenous Thyroid Hormone in Tumor Invasion—Preliminary Observations

1Departments of Surgery, Jefferson Pancreatic, Biliary and Related Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
2Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of New England, Biddeford, ME 04005, USA

Received 5 October 2015; Revised 15 March 2016; Accepted 16 March 2016

Academic Editor: Noriyuki Koibuchi

Copyright © 2016 Konrad Sarosiek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


According to the epidemiological studies, about 4.4% of American general elderly population has a pronounced hypothyroidism and relies on thyroid hormone supplements daily. The prevalence of hypothyroidism in our patients with pancreatic cancer was much higher, 14.1%. A retrospective analysis was performed on patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure) or distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy (DPS) at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, from 2005 to 2012. The diagnosis of hypothyroidism was correlated with clinicopathologic parameters including tumor stage, grade, and survival. To further understand how thyroid hormone affects pancreatic cancer behavior, functional studies including wound-induced cell migration, proliferation, and invasion were performed on pancreatic cancer cell lines, MiaPaCa-2 and AsPC-1. We found that hypothyroid patients taking exogenous thyroid hormone were more than three times likely to have perineural invasion, and about twice as likely to have higher T stage, nodal spread, and overall poorer prognostic stage (). Pancreatic cancer cell line studies demonstrated that exogenous thyroid hormone treatment increased cell proliferation, migration, and invasion (). We conclude that exogenous thyroid hormone may contribute to the progression of pancreatic cancer.