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Title: Thyroid cancer following nuclear tests in French Polynesia.
Authors: de Vathaire F,  Drozdovitch V,  Brindel P,  Rachedi F,  Boissin JL,  Sebbag J,  Shan L,  Bost-Bezeaud F,  Petitdidier P,  Paoaafaite J,  Teuri J,  Iltis J,  Bouville A,  Cardis E,  Hill C,  Doyon F
Journal: Br J Cancer
Date: 2010 Sep 28
Branches: REB
PubMed ID: 20808313
PMC ID: PMC2965871
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Between 1966 and 1974, France conducted 41 atmospheric nuclear tests in Polynesia, but their potential health effects have not previously been investigated. METHODS: In a case-control study, we compared the radiation exposure of almost all the French Polynesians diagnosed with differentiated thyroid carcinoma between 1981 and 2003 (n=229) to the exposure of 373 French Polynesian control individuals without cancer from the general population. Radiation exposures were estimated using measurements after the nuclear tests, age at time of each test, residential and dietary information. RESULTS: The average thyroid dose before 15 years of age was about 1.8 mGy, and 5% of the cases and 3% of the controls received a dose above 10 mGy. Despite this low level of dose, and after adjusting for ethnic group, level of education, body surface area, family history of thyroid cancer and number of pregnancies for women, we observed an increasing risk (P=0.04) of thyroid cancer with increasing thyroid dose received before age of 15 years, which remained after excluding non-aggressive differentiated thyroid micro-carcinomas. This increase of risk per unit of thyroid radiation dose was higher (P=0.03) in women who later experienced four or more pregnancies than among other women. CONCLUSION: The risk estimate is low, but is based on limited exposure data. The release of information on exposure, currently classified, would greatly improve the reliability of the risk estimation.