Although genetic and environmental factors have been identified in the etiology of thyroid cancer, the specific genetic implications in sporadic thyroid tumors are poorly understood but, as in other common cancers, low-penetrance susceptibility genes are believed to be crucial in the tumorigenesis processes. Here, we have carried out a case-control study to investigate whether there is an association between THRA1 CA repeat or BAT-40 A repeat polymorphisms and thyroid cancer risk. The THRA1 repeat resides in the thyroid hormone receptor-α1 gene, which is associated with thyroid cancer and whose expression depends on the THRA1 repeat size. We also analyzed the BAT-40 repeat that maps to chromosome 1, a region known to be involved in thyroid cancer. This repeat is located in the 3-β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase gene that is associated with prostate cancer susceptibility. The THRA1 repeat was genotyped in 212 thyroid cancer patients and 141 controls of a Spanish population. From these individuals, 207 patients and 138 controls were also analyzed for the BAT-40 marker. No significant difference in the THRA1 allele distribution between patients and controls was found, although short alleles (<128 bp) might have some protective effect on thyroid cancer risk of carriers (odds ratio, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.22-1.13; P = 0.094). By contrast, the BAT-40 allele distribution in patients was significantly different with respect to control (P = 0.035). Essentially, the difference were found in the genotypes involving the 111- to 115-bp allele range, which seem to be associated with a protective effect on thyroid cancer susceptibility in the studied population (odds ratio, 0.18; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.57; P = 0.02). Therefore, our results indicate that the BAT-40 containing region and to a less extend the thyroid hormone receptor-α1 gene are related to thyroid cancer susceptibility. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting the identification of genetic factors for thyroid cancer susceptibility. Copyright © 2005 American Association for Cancer Research.