J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2017 07;102(7):2575-2583
Institute for Radiation Protection and Dosimetry, Brazilian Nuclear Energy Commission, 22783-127 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Context: The increased use of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that involve radiation raises concerns about radiation effects, particularly in children and the radiosensitive thyroid gland.
Objectives: Evaluation of relative risk (RR) trends for thyroid radiation doses <0.2 gray (Gy); evidence of a threshold dose; and possible modifiers of the dose-response, e.g., sex, age at exposure, time since exposure.
Design And Setting: Pooled data from nine cohort studies of childhood external radiation exposure and thyroid cancer with individualized dose estimates, ≥1000 irradiated subjects or ≥10 thyroid cancer cases, with data limited to individuals receiving doses <0.2 Gy.
Participants: Cohorts included the following: childhood cancer survivors (n = 2); children treated for benign diseases (n = 6); and children who survived the atomic bombings in Japan (n = 1). There were 252 cases and 2,588,559 person-years in irradiated individuals and 142 cases and 1,865,957 person-years in nonirradiated individuals.
Intervention: There were no interventions.
Main Outcome Measure: Incident thyroid cancers.
Results: For both <0.2 and <0.1 Gy, RRs increased with thyroid dose (P < 0.01), without significant departure from linearity (P = 0.77 and P = 0.66, respectively). Estimates of threshold dose ranged from 0.0 to 0.03 Gy, with an upper 95% confidence bound of 0.04 Gy. The increasing dose-response trend persisted >45 years after exposure, was greater at younger age at exposure and younger attained age, and was similar by sex and number of treatments.
Conclusions: Our analyses reaffirmed linearity of the dose response as the most plausible relationship for "as low as reasonably achievable" assessments for pediatric low-dose radiation-associated thyroid cancer risk.