According to a study, the researcher examines that adolescent and young adult cancer survivors have a 73% higher risk of endocrine diseases. The study was published online in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers used the Danish Cancer Registry to investigate the lifetime risks of endocrine late effects of cancer and cancer treatment in 32,548 adolescent and young adult cancer survivors (1976 through 2009). Patients were matched by age and sex to a reference cohort randomly selected from the Danish Civil Registration system, and analyses were done from July 2015 through February 2018.

Therapy Side Effects

As survival rates from cancer have improved dramatically over the last decades, there is a need to explore the long-term consequences. Adolescents and young adults with cancer are at risk for several therapy-related late effects; however, these have not been studied extensively.

The researchers found that 6.5% of survivors had at least one hospital contact for an endocrine disease, compared to the 3.8% that was expected (rate ratio [RR], 1.73). The RRs were highest for testicular hypofunction (75.12), ovarian hypofunction (14.65), and pituitary hypofunction (11.14). Thyroid disease (absolute excess risk [AER], 38.0%), testicular dysfunction (AER, 17.1%), and diabetes (AER, 14.4%) were the leading reasons for hospital contacts.

Risk of any endocrine disease was highest among leukemia survivors (RR, 3.97), and Hodgkin lymphoma survivors had the highest disease-specific excess risk for hypothyroidism (AER, 362 per 100 000 person-years).

Preventive Measures

The increased risk for endocrine diseases in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors indicates the need for counseling and follow-up and could guide future preventive measures and surveillance strategies.

Additional studies are required to determine exact associations between treatment regimens and endocrine diseases.