Skip to Content
Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Publications Search - Abstract View

Title: Cancer risk in population examined with diagnostic doses of 131I.
Authors: Holm LE,  Wiklund KE,  Lundell GE,  Bergman NA,  Bjelkengren G,  Ericsson UB,  Cederquist ES,  Lidberg ME,  Lindberg RS,  Wicklund HV
Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst
Date: 1989 Feb 15
Branches: REB
PubMed ID: 2913329
PMC ID: not available
Abstract: Previously, we conducted a study of 35,074 patients receiving diagnostic doses of 131I for suspected thyroid disorders between 1951 and 1969. We reported that, between 1958 and 1984, the incidence of thyroid cancers in these patients was insignificantly greater than the incidence expected in the general population. This increase was attributed to the underlying condition that prompted the examination and not to the administration of 131I. The purpose of the present study was to analyze the total cancer risk in the same cohort of patients examined with diagnostic doses of 131I. To further evaluate the underlying risk of disease in these patients, we compared the incidence of all cancers with that expected in the general population. The average radiation dose was approximately 500 mGy to the thyroid and less than 10 mGy to other organs. In the 35,074 patients, 3,746 cancers occurred following the first 5 years after examination, and the resulting standardized incidence rate (SIR) was 1.01 (95% confidence interval = 0.98-1.04). SIRs were significantly increased for endocrine tumors other than thyroid cancer (1.93) and for lymphomas (1.24), leukemias (1.34), and nervous system tumors (1.19). The risk of leukemia was similar for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (SIR = 1.30) and non-CLL (SIR = 1.34). SIR was significantly decreased for cancers of the female genital organs (0.86). The risk for cancer of all sites and types combined was highest 5-9 years after examination (SIR = 1.07) and did not differ from unity thereafter. With greater than or equal to 10 years of follow-up, risk was not statistically associated with the dose of 131I. Overall, the data exclude cancer risk increments greater than 5% (SIR = 1.05) with 95% confidence. The significant increase in the risk of non-CLL, a prominent radiogenic malignancy, however, warrants special attention. We are continuing our study to determine the possible factors involved in the significant increase in the risk of leukemia.