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Radiation and the Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic and Other Leukemias among Chornobyl Cleanup Workers

November 15, 2012

Radiation and the Risk of Chronic Lymphocytic and Other Leukemias among Chornobyl Cleanup Workers

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

Background: Risks of most types of leukemia from exposure to acute high doses of ionizing radiation are well known, but risks associated with protracted exposures, and associations between radiation and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are not clear.

Objectives: To estimate relative risks of CLL and non-CLL from protracted exposures to low-dose ionizing radiation.

Methods: A nested case-control study was conducted in a cohort of 110,645 Ukrainian cleanup workers of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear power plant accident. Cases of incident leukemia diagnosed in 1986-2006 were confirmed by a panel of expert hematologists/hematopathologists. Controls were matched to cases on place of residence and year of birth. Individual bone marrow radiation doses were estimated by the Realistic Analytical Dose Reconstruction with Uncertainty Estimation (RADRUE) method. A conditional logistic regression model was used to estimate excess relative risk of leukemia per gray (ERR/Gy) of radiation dose.

Results:A significant linear dose-response was found for all leukemia (137 cases, ERR/Gy=1.26 (95% confidence interval 0.03, 3.58)). There were non-significant positive dose-responses for both CLL and non-CLL (ERR/Gy=0.76 and 1.87, respectively). In our primary analysis excluding 20 cases with direct in-person interviews

Conclusions: Exposure to low doses and low dose-rates of radiation from post-Chornobyl cleanup work was associated with a significant increase in risk of leukemia, which was statistically consistent with estimates for the Japanese atomic bomb survivors. Based on the primary analysis, we conclude that CLL and non-CLL are both radiosensitive.

See: Chernobyl Cleanup Workers Had Significantly Increased Risk of Leukemiahttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108073635.htm (Science Daily)

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