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The 15-country collaborative study of cancer risk among radiation workers in the nuclear industry: Estimates of radiation-related cancer risks

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin Muirhead, Professor Mark PearceORCiD


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A 15-Country collaborative cohort study was conducted to provide direct estimates of cancer risk following protracted low doses of ionizing radiation. Analyses included 407,391 nuclear industry workers monitored individually for external radiation and 5.2 million person-years of follow-up. A significant association was seen between radiation dose and all-cause mortality [excess relative risk (ERR) 0.42 per Sv, 90% CI 0.07, 0.79; 18,993 deaths]. This was mainly attributable to a dose-related increase in all cancer mortality (ERR/Sv 0.97, 90% CI 0.28, 1.77; 5233 deaths). Among 31 specific types of malignancies studied, a significant association was found for lung cancer (ERR/Sv 1.86, 90% CI 0.49, 3.63; 1457 deaths) and a borderline significant (P = 0.06) association for multiple myeloma (ERR/Sv 6.15, 90% CI < 0, 20.6; 83 deaths) and ill-defined and secondary cancers (ERR/Sv 1.96, 90% CI -0.26, 5.90; 328 deaths). Stratification on duration of employment had a large effect on the ERR/Sv, reflecting a strong healthy worker survivor effect in these cohorts. This is the largest analytical epidemiological study of the effects of low-dose protracted exposures to ionizing radiation to date. Further studies will be important to better assess the role of tobacco and other occupational exposures in our risk estimates. (c) 2007 by Radiation Research Society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cardis E, Vrijheid M, Blettner M, Gilbert E, Hakama M, Hill C, Howe G, Kaldor J, Muirhead CR, Schubauer-Berigan M, Yoshimura T, Bermann F, Cowper G, Fix J, Hacker C, Heinmiller B, Marshall M, Thierry-Chef I, Utterback D, Ahn YO, Amoros E, Ashmore P, Auvinen A, Bae JM, Bernar J, Biau A, Combalot E, Deboodt P, Sacristan AD, Eklof M, Engels H, Engholm G, Gulis G, Habib RR, Holan K, Hyvonen H, Kerekes A, Kurtinaitis J, Malker H, Martuzzi M, Mastauskas A, Monnet A, Moser M, Pearce MS, Richardson DB, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Rogel A, Tardy H, Telle-Lamberton M, Turai I, Usel M, Veress K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Radiation Research

Year: 2007

Volume: 167

Issue: 4

Pages: 396-416

ISSN (print): 0033-7587

ISSN (electronic): 1938-5404

Publisher: Radiation Research Society


DOI: 10.1667/RR0553.1


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Funder referenceFunder name
U50/CCU011778PHS HHS