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Thyroid Cancer after Childhood Exposure to External Radiation: An Updated Pooled Analysis of 12 Studies

Overview of attention for article published in Radiation Research, April 2016
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Thyroid Cancer after Childhood Exposure to External Radiation: An Updated Pooled Analysis of 12 Studies
Published in
Radiation Research, April 2016
DOI 10.1667/rr14213.1
Pubmed ID

Lene H. S. Veiga, Erik Holmberg, Harald Anderson, Linda Pottern, Siegal Sadetzki, M. Jacob Adams, Ritsu Sakata, Arthur B. Schneider, Peter Inskip, Parveen Bhatti, Robert Johansson, Gila Neta, Roy Shore, Florent de Vathaire, Lena Damber, Ruth Kleinerman, Michael M. Hawkins, Margaret Tucker, Marie Lundell, Jay H. Lubin


Studies have causally linked external thyroid radiation exposure in childhood with thyroid cancer. In 1995, investigators conducted relative risk analyses of pooled data from seven epidemiologic studies. Doses were mostly <10 Gy, although childhood cancer therapies can result in thyroid doses >50 Gy. We pooled data from 12 studies of thyroid cancer patients who were exposed to radiation in childhood (ages <20 years), more than doubling the data, including 1,070 (927 exposed) thyroid cancers and 5.3 million (3.4 million exposed) person-years. Relative risks increased supralinearly through 2-4 Gy, leveled off between 10-30 Gy and declined thereafter, remaining significantly elevated above 50 Gy. There was a significant relative risk trend for doses <0.10 Gy (P < 0.01), with no departure from linearity (P = 0.36). We observed radiogenic effects for both papillary and nonpapillary tumors. Estimates of excess relative risk per Gy (ERR/Gy) were homogeneous by sex (P = 0.35) and number of radiation treatments (P = 0.84) and increased with decreasing age at the time of exposure. The ERR/Gy estimate was significant within ten years of radiation exposure, 2.76 (95% CI, 0.94-4.98), based on 42 exposed cases, and remained elevated 50 years and more after exposure. Finally, exposure to chemotherapy was significantly associated with thyroid cancer, with results supporting a nonsynergistic (additive) association with radiation.

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 1 1%
Unknown 72 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 12 16%
Student > Ph. D. Student 9 12%
Student > Bachelor 7 10%
Professor 6 8%
Student > Master 6 8%
Other 15 21%
Unknown 18 25%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 24 33%
Environmental Science 4 5%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 5%
Nursing and Health Professions 4 5%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 4 5%
Other 10 14%
Unknown 23 32%