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1.  Nucleotide excision repair polymorphisms may modify ionizing radiation-related breast cancer risk in US radiologic technologists 
Exposure to ionizing radiation has been consistently associated with increased risk of female breast cancer. Although the majority of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation is corrected by the base-excision repair pathway, certain types of multiple-base damage can only be repaired through the nucleotide excision repair pathway. In a nested case–control study of breast cancer in US radiologic technologists exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation (858 cases, 1,083 controls), we examined whether risk of breast cancer conferred by radiation was modified by nucleotide excision gene polymorphisms ERCC2 (XPD) rs13181, ERCC4 (XPF) rs1800067 and rs1800124, ERCC5 (XPG) rs1047769 and rs17655; and ERCC6 rs2228526. Of the 6 ERCC variants examined, only ERCC5 rs17655 showed a borderline main effect association with breast cancer risk (ORGC = 1.1, ORCC = 1.3; p-trend = 0.08), with some indication that individuals carrying the C allele variant were more susceptible to the effects of occupational radiation (EOR/GyGG = 1.0, 95% CI = <0, 6.0; EOR/GyGC/CC = 5.9, 95% CI = 0.9, 14.4; phet = 0.10). ERCC2 rs13181, although not associated with breast cancer risk overall, statistically significantly modified the effect of occupational radiation dose on risk of breast cancer (EOR/GyAA = 9.1, 95% CI = 2.1–21.3; EOR/GyAC/CC = 0.6, 95% CI = <0, 4.6; phet = 0.01). These results suggest that common variants in nucleotide excision repair genes may modify the association between occupational radiation exposure and breast cancer risk.
doi:10.1002/ijc.23779
PMCID: PMC3984912  PMID: 18767034
2.  No Evidence for Differences in DNA Damage Assessed before and after a Cancer Diagnosis 
The overwhelming majority of studies that have found increased cancer risk associated with functional deficits in DNA repair used a case-control design, in which measurements were made after cancer diagnosis. However, there are concerns about whether the cancer itself or cancer treatment affected the conclusions (reverse causation bias). We assessed the effect of cancer diagnosis among 26 breast cancer controls who had blood collected during 2001 to 2003 and again in 2005 to 2006 after being diagnosed with cancer. Using the alkaline comet assay, we quantified DNA damage in untreated lymphoblastoid cell lines. Comet distributed moment, olive tail moment, percentage of DNA in tail, and comet tail length were summarized as the geometric mean of 100 cells. For comet distributed moment, olive tail moment, tail DNA, and tail length, the proportions of women with before diagnosis values higher than after diagnosis were 65%, 50%, 50%, and 46%, respectively. We found no significant differences in the before or after diagnosis mean comet values. Median cut-points were determined from the before diagnosis distribution, and we used conditional logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (OR) and upper 95% bounds of the confidence intervals. ORs ranged from 0.6 to 0.9 with upper confidence interval bounds of 1.9 and 2.6, meaning biased ORs above 2.6 are unlikely. We found no evidence that reverse causation bias is an important concern in case-control studies using the comet assay applied to cell lines collected after cancer diagnosis. More work is needed to characterize the effect of cancer diagnosis on other phenotypic assays.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-2871
PMCID: PMC3950930  PMID: 18398043
3.  ROUTINE DIAGNOSTIC X-RAY EXAMINATIONS AND INCREASED FREQUENCY OF CHROMOSOME TRANSLOCATIONS AMONG U. S. RADIOLOGIC TECHNOLOGISTS 
Cancer research  2008;68(21):8825-8831.
The U.S. population has nearly one radiographic examination per person per year and concern about cancer risks associated with medical radiation has increased. Radiologic technologists were surveyed to determine whether their personal cumulative exposure to diagnostic x-rays was associated with increased frequencies of chromosome translocations, an established radiation biomarker and possible intermediary suggesting increased cancer risk. Within a large cohort of U. S. radiologic technologists, 150 provided a blood sample for whole chromosome painting and were interviewed about past x-ray examinations. The number and types of examinations reported were converted to a red bone marrow (RBM) dose score with units that approximated 1 mGy. The relationship between dose score and chromosome translocation frequency was assessed using Poisson regression. The estimated mean cumulative RBM radiation dose score was 49 (range 0 – 303). After adjustment for age, translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing RBM dose score with an estimate of 0.004 translocations per 100 cell equivalents per score unit (95% confidence interval 0.002 to 0.007; P < 0.001). Removing extreme values or adjustment for gender, cigarette smoking, occupational radiation dose, allowing practice x-rays while training, work with radioisotopes, and radiotherapy for benign conditions did not affect the estimate. Cumulative radiation exposure from routine x-ray examinations was associated independently with increased chromosome damage, suggesting the possibility of elevated long-term health risks, including cancer. The slope estimate was consistent with expectation based on cytogenetic experience and atomic bomb survivor data.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-1691
PMCID: PMC2586176  PMID: 18974125
Radiation exposure; diagnostic x-rays; chromosome translocations; FISH; risk factors
4.  Risk of Cataract after Exposure to Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation: A 20-Year Prospective Cohort Study among US Radiologic Technologists 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2008;168(6):620-631.
The study aim was to determine the risk of cataract among radiologic technologists with respect to occupational and nonoccupational exposures to ionizing radiation and to personal characteristics. A prospective cohort of 35,705 cataract-free US radiologic technologists aged 24–44 years was followed for nearly 20 years (1983–2004) by using two follow-up questionnaires. During the study period, 2,382 cataracts and 647 cataract extractions were reported. Cigarette smoking for ≥5 pack-years; body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2; and history of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or arthritis at baseline were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) associated with increased risk of cataract. In multivariate models, self-report of ≥3 x-rays to the face/neck was associated with a hazard ratio of cataract of 1.25 (95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.47). For workers in the highest category (mean, 60 mGy) versus lowest category (mean, 5 mGy) of occupational dose to the lens of the eye, the adjusted hazard ratio of cataract was 1.18 (95% confidence interval: 0.99, 1.40). Findings challenge the National Council on Radiation Protection and International Commission on Radiological Protection assumptions that the lowest cumulative ionizing radiation dose to the lens of the eye that can produce a progressive cataract is approximately 2 Gy, and they support the hypothesis that the lowest cataractogenic dose in humans is substantially less than previously thought.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwn171
PMCID: PMC2727195  PMID: 18664497
cataract; radiation; technology, radiologic; x-rays
5.  Interventional radiography and mortality risks in U.S. radiologic technologists 
Pediatric Radiology  2006;36(Suppl 2):113-120.
With the exponential increase in minimally invasive fluoroscopically guided interventional radiologic procedures, concern has increased about the health effects on staff and patients of radiation exposure from these procedures. There has been no systematic epidemiologic investigation to quantify serious disease risks or mortality. To quantify all-cause, circulatory system disease and cancer mortality risks in U.S. radiologic technologists who work with interventional radiographic procedures, we evaluated mortality risks in a nationwide cohort of 88,766 U.S. radiologic technologists (77% female) who completed a self-administered questionnaire during 1994–998 and were followed through 31 December 2003. We obtained information on work experience, types of procedures (including fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures), and protective measures plus medical, family cancer history, lifestyle, and reproductive information. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to compute relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Between completion of the questionnaire and the end of follow-up, there were 3,581 deaths, including 1,209 from malignancies and 979 from circulatory system diseases. Compared to radiologic technologists who never or rarely performed or assisted with fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures, all-cause mortality risks were not increased among those working on such procedures daily. Similarly, there was no increased risk of mortality resulting from all circulatory system diseases combined, all cancers combined, or female breast cancer among technologists who daily performed or assisted with fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures. Based on small numbers of deaths (n=151), there were non-significant excesses (40%–0%) in mortality from cerebrovascular disease among technologists ever working with these procedures. The absence of significantly elevated mortality risks in radiologic technologists reporting the highest frequency of interventional radiography procedures must be interpreted cautiously in light of the small number of deaths during the relatively short follow-up. The present study cannot rule out increased risks of cerebrovascular disease, specific cancers, and diseases with low case-fatality rates or a long latency period preceding death.
doi:10.1007/s00247-006-0224-0
PMCID: PMC2663634  PMID: 16862404
Radiologic technologists; Interventional radiography; Occupational radiation exposure; Mortality
6.  Kin-cohort estimates for familial breast cancer risk in relation to variants in DNA base excision repair, BRCA1 interacting and growth factor genes 
BMC Cancer  2004;4:9.
Background
Subtle functional deficiencies in highly conserved DNA repair or growth regulatory processes resulting from polymorphic variation may increase genetic susceptibility to breast cancer. Polymorphisms in DNA repair genes can impact protein function leading to genomic instability facilitated by growth stimulation and increased cancer risk. Thus, 19 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight genes involved in base excision repair (XRCC1, APEX, POLD1), BRCA1 protein interaction (BRIP1, ZNF350, BRCA2), and growth regulation (TGFß1, IGFBP3) were evaluated.
Methods
Genomic DNA samples were used in Taqman 5'-nuclease assays for most SNPs. Breast cancer risk to ages 50 and 70 were estimated using the kin-cohort method in which genotypes of relatives are inferred based on the known genotype of the index subject and Mendelian inheritance patterns. Family cancer history data was collected from a series of genotyped breast cancer cases (N = 748) identified within a cohort of female US radiologic technologists. Among 2,430 female first-degree relatives of cases, 190 breast cancers were reported.
Results
Genotypes associated with increased risk were: XRCC1 R194W (WW and RW vs. RR, cumulative risk up to age 70, risk ratio (RR) = 2.3; 95% CI 1.3–3.8); XRCC1 R399Q (QQ vs. RR, cumulative risk up to age 70, RR = 1.9; 1.1–3.9); and BRIP1 (or BACH1) P919S (SS vs. PP, cumulative risk up to age 50, RR = 6.9; 1.6–29.3). The risk for those heterozygous for BRCA2 N372H and APEX D148E were significantly lower than risks for homozygotes of either allele, and these were the only two results that remained significant after adjusting for multiple comparisons. No associations with breast cancer were observed for: APEX Q51H; XRCC1 R280H; IGFPB3 -202A>C; TGFß1 L10P, P25R, and T263I; BRCA2 N289H and T1915M; BRIP1 -64A>C; and ZNF350 (or ZBRK1) 1845C>T, L66P, R501S, and S472P.
Conclusion
Some variants in genes within the base-excision repair pathway (XRCC1) and BRCA1 interacting proteins (BRIP1) may play a role as low penetrance breast cancer risk alleles. Previous association studies of breast cancer and BRCA2 N372H and functional observations for APEX D148E ran counter to our findings of decreased risks. Due to the many comparisons, cautious interpretation and replication of these relationships are warranted.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-4-9
PMCID: PMC408462  PMID: 15113441
Breast cancer; kin-cohort; genetic variation; epidemiology; methods; risk factors

Results 1-6 (6)