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Title: Leukaemia incidence after iodine-131 exposure.
Authors: Hall P,  Boice JD Jr,  Berg G,  Bjelkengren G,  Ericsson UB,  Hallquist A,  Lidberg M,  Lundell G,  Mattsson A,  Tennvall J
Journal: Lancet
Date: 1992 Jul 4
Branches: REB
PubMed ID: 1351599
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: Leukaemia is one of the most prominent late effects of exposure to ionising radiation. We have studied the incidence of leukaemia among 46,988 Swedish patients exposed to iodine-131 (131I) for diagnostic reasons or to treat hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer. The observed number of leukaemias was compared with that expected based on incidence data from the general population. The mean absorbed dose to the bone marrow was estimated as 14 mGy (range 0.01-2.226). 195 leukaemias occurred more than 2 years after exposure, and the standardised incidence ratio (SIR) was 1.09 (95% confidence interval 0.94-1.25). Similar, but again not significantly, increased risks were seen for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) (SIR = 1.08), a malignant condition not found to be increased after irradiation, and for non-CLL (SIR = 1.09). The risk of leukaemia did not vary by sex, age, time, or radiation dose from 131I. One reason for the absence of a radiation effect, other than chance, includes the possible lowering of risk when exposure is protracted over time as occurs with 131I. Excess leukaemia risks of more than 25% could thus be excluded with high assurance in this population of mainly adults. These results should be reassuring to patients exposed to 131I in medical practice and to most individuals exposed to the fall-out from the Chernobyl accident.