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

  • Veiga L
  • Holmberg E
  • Anderson H
  • et al.
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Abstract

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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Veiga, L. H. S., Holmberg, E., Anderson, H., Pottern, L., Sadetzki, S., Adams, M. J., … Lubin, J. H. (2016). Thyroid Cancer after Childhood Exposure to External Radiation: An Updated Pooled Analysis of 12 Studies. Radiation Research, 185(5), 473. https://doi.org/10.1667/rr14213.1

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