While ionizing radiation is an established environmental risk factor for thyroid cancer, the effect of chemotherapy drugs on thyroid cancer risk remains unclear. We evaluated the chemotherapy-related risk of thyroid cancer in childhood cancer survivors, and the possible joint effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The study included 12,547 five-year survivors of childhood cancer diagnosed during 1970 through 1986. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy information was obtained from medical records, and radiation dose was estimated to the thyroid gland. Cumulative incidence and relative risks were calculated using life-table methods and Poisson regression. Chemotherapy-related risks were evaluated separately by categories of radiation dose.
Histologically confirmed thyroid cancer occurred in 119 patients. Thirty years after the first childhood cancer treatment, the cumulative incidence of thyroid cancer was 1.3% (95% CI, 1.0–1.6) for females and 0.6% (0.4–0.8) for males. Among patients with thyroid radiation doses ≤ 20 Gy, treatment with alkylating agents was associated with a significant 2.4-fold increased risk of thyroid cancer (95% CI, 1.3–4.5; P = 0.002). Chemotherapy risks decreased as radiation dose increased, with a significant decrease for patients treated with alkylating agents (P-trend = 0.03). No chemotherapy-related risk was evident for thyroid radiation doses >20 Gy.
Treatments with alkylating agents increased thyroid cancer risk, but only in the radiation dose range under 20 Gy, where cell sparing likely predominates over cell killing.
Our study adds to the evidence for chemotherapy agent-specific increased risks of thyroid cancer, which to date, were mainly thought to be related to prior radiotherapy.
Thyroid cancer; second cancer; chemotherapy; radiation risk; cohort study
DNA damage is an important mechanism in carcinogenesis, so genes related to maintaining genomic integrity may influence papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) risk. Candidate gene studies targeting some of these genes have identified only a few polymorphisms associated with risk of PTC. Here, we expanded the scope of previous candidate studies by increasing the number and coverage of genes related to maintenance of genomic integrity. We evaluated 5077 tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 340 candidate gene regions hypothesized to be involved in DNA repair, epigenetics, tumor suppression, apoptosis, telomere function and cell cycle control and signaling pathways in a case–control study of 344 PTC cases and 452 matched controls. We estimated odds ratios for associations of single SNPs with PTC risk and combined P values for SNPs in the same gene region or pathway to obtain gene region-specific or pathway-specific P values using adaptive rank-truncated product methods. Nine SNPs had P values <0.0005, three of which were in HDAC4 and were inversely related to PTC risk. After multiple comparisons adjustment, no SNPs remained associated with PTC risk. Seven gene regions were associated with PTC risk at P < 0.01, including HUS1, ALKBH3, HDAC4, BAK1, FAF1_CDKN2C, DACT3 and FZD6. Our results suggest a possible role of genes involved in maintenance of genomic integrity in relation to risk of PTC.
The major DNA repair pathway for coping with spontaneous forms of DNA damage, such as natural hydrolytic products or oxidative lesions, is base excision repair (BER). In particular, BER processes mutagenic and cytotoxic DNA lesions such as non-bulky base modifications, abasic sites, and a range of chemically distinct single-strand breaks. Defects in BER have been linked to cancer predisposition, neurodegenerative disorders, and immunodeficiency. Recent data indicate a large degree of sequence variability in DNA repair genes and several studies have associated BER gene polymorphisms with disease risk, including cancer of several sites. The intent of this review is to describe the range of BER capacity among individuals and the functional consequences of BER genetic variants. We also discuss studies that associate BER deficiency with disease risk and the current state of BER capacity measurement assays.
DNA repair capacity; base excision; pathway assay; polymorphism; disease susceptibility
Case-control studies have shown that regular use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) decreases bladder cancer risk, but few cohort studies have evaluated this association. The authors investigated NSAID use and bladder cancer in 3 large prospective studies (NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study; Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial; and U.S. Radiologic Technologists Study). Frequency of aspirin and nonaspirin NSAID use 1 year prior to baseline was ascertained using self-administered questionnaires. Study-specific hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated using Cox regression models and were combined using a fixed-effects meta-analytic model. Data from all studies were aggregated, and aggregated hazard ratios were estimated. The analysis included 508,842 individuals, with 2,489 incident cases of bladder cancer. A reduction in risk was observed for individuals who reported regular use (>2 times/week) of nonaspirin NSAIDs compared with those who reported no use (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.92, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.81, 1.04). The risk reduction was limited to nonsmokers (HR = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.41, 0.83) (Ptrend = 0.008) (Pinteraction = 0.02). No association was observed between regular aspirin use and bladder cancer risk (HR = 1.04, 95% CI: 0.94, 1.15). Results suggest that nonaspirin NSAIDs, but not aspirin, are associated with a reduction in risk of bladder cancer, particularly for nonsmokers.
anti-inflammatory agents, non-steroidal; aspirin; meta-analysis; urinary bladder neoplasms
Nulliparity is an established breast cancer risk factor, particularly when compared with parity at young ages. The authors aggregated data from 4 US prospective studies (1979–2006) including 32,641 nulliparous (1,612 breast cancers) and 204,270 parous (8,180 breast cancers) women to examine the hypothesis that nulliparity may increase susceptibility to established postmenopausal breast cancer risk factors. The aggregated hazard ratio for nulliparous versus all parous women = 1.27 (95% confidence interval: 1.21, 1.34), and that for nulliparous versus women <25 years of age at first birth = 1.38 (95% confidence interval: 1.30, 1.46). Among nulliparous women, the hazard ratios for current menopausal hormone therapy use (vs. never use), body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 (vs. <25 kg/m2), and weekly consumption of ≥7 alcoholic drinks (vs. none) ranged from 1.3 to 1.6. The hazard ratios did not differ by parity. In a model including all women, the joint association for each of these factors and nulliparity combined compared with first birth before age 25 years was an approximately 2-fold increased breast cancer risk. Although the baseline risk is higher for nulliparous women compared with parous women, these results suggest that the associations between hormone-related factors and breast cancer do not differ by parity.
alcohol drinking; body mass index; breast neoplasms; hormone replacement therapy; parity; prospective studies; risk factors
Since the early 1970's the incidence of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) in the U.S. has been increasing, however, potential environmental exposures accounting for this rise have not been identified. A prior study reported a significant association among frequent and long-term current users of marijuana and TGCT risk. We aimed to evaluate the relationship of marijuana use and TGCT in a hospital-based case-control study conducted at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
TGCT cases diagnosed between January 1990 and October 1996 (n=187) and male friend controls (n=148) were enrolled in the study. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 50 at the time of cases' diagnosis and resided in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, or Oklahoma. Associations of marijuana use and TGCT were estimated using unconditional logistic regression, adjusting for age, race, prior cryptorchidism, cigarette smoking and alcohol intake.
Overall, TGCT cases were more likely to be frequent marijuana users (daily or greater) than were controls [OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.0, 5.1]. In the histologic-specific analyses nonseminoma cases were significantly more likely than controls to be frequent users [OR: 3.1, 95% CI: 1.2, 8.2] and long-term users (10+ years) [OR: 2.4, 95% CI: 1.0, 6.1].
Our finding of an association between frequent marijuana use and TGCT, particularly among men with nonseminoma, is consistent with the findings of a previous report. Additional studies of marijuana use and TGCT are warranted, especially studies evaluating the role of endocannabinoid signaling and cannabinoid receptors in TGCT.
marijuana use; seminomas; nonseminomas; testicular germ cell tumors; hospital-based case-control
Mutagen challenge and DNA repair assays have been used in case–control studies for nearly three decades to assess human cancer risk. The findings still engender controversy because blood was drawn after cancer diagnosis so the results may be biased, a type called ‘reverse causation’. We therefore used Epstein–Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines established from prospectively collected peripheral blood samples to evaluate lung cancer risk in relation to three DNA repair assays: alkaline Comet assay, host cell reactivation (HCR) assay with the mutagen benzo[a]pyrene diol epoxide and the bleomycin mutagen sensitivity assay. Cases (n = 117) were diagnosed with lung cancer between 0.3 and 6 years after blood collection and controls (n = 117) were frequency matched on calendar year and age at blood collection, gender and smoking history; all races were included. Case and control status was unknown to laboratory investigators. In unconditional logistic regression analyses, statistically significantly increased lung cancer odds ratios (ORadjusted) were observed for bleomycin mutagen sensitivity as quartiles of chromatid breaks/cell [relative to the lowest quartile, OR = 1.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.5–2.5; OR = 1.4, 95% CI: 0.7–3.1; OR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.0–4.4, respectively, Ptrend = 0.04]. The magnitude of the association between the bleomycin assay and lung cancer risk was modest compared with those reported in previous lung cancer studies but was strengthened when we included only incident cases diagnosed more than a year after blood collection (Ptrend = 0.02), supporting the notion the assay may be a measure of cancer susceptibility. The Comet and HCR assays were unrelated to lung cancer risk.
Previous studies have indicated that thyroid cancer risk after a first childhood malignancy is curvilinear with radiation dose, increasing at low to moderate doses and decreasing at high doses. Understanding factors that modify the radiation dose response over the entire therapeutic dose range is challenging and requires large numbers of subjects. We quantified the long-term risk of thyroid cancer associated with radiation treatment among 12,547 5-year survivors of a childhood cancer (leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, central nervous system cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, kidney cancer, bone cancer, neuroblastoma) diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study using the most current cohort follow-up to 2005. There were 119 subsequent pathologically confirmed thyroid cancer cases, and individual radiation doses to the thyroid gland were estimated for the entire cohort. This cohort study builds on the previous case-control study in this population (69 thyroid cancer cases with follow-up to 2000) by allowing the evaluation of both relative and absolute risks. Poisson regression analyses were used to calculate standardized incidence ratios (SIR), excess relative risks (ERR) and excess absolute risks (EAR) of thyroid cancer associated with radiation dose. Other factors such as sex, type of first cancer, attained age, age at exposure to radiation, time since exposure to radiation, and chemotherapy (yes/no) were assessed for their effect on the linear and exponential quadratic terms describing the dose–response relationship. Similar to the previous analysis, thyroid cancer risk increased linearly with radiation dose up to approximately 20 Gy, where the relative risk peaked at 14.6-fold (95% CI, 6.8–31.5). At thyroid radiation doses >20 Gy, a downturn in the dose–response relationship was observed. The ERR model that best fit the data was linear-exponential quadratic. We found that age at exposure modified the ERR linear dose term (higher radiation risk with younger age) (P < 0.001) and that sex (higher radiation risk among females) (P = 0.008) and time since exposure (higher radiation risk with longer time) (P < 0.001) modified the EAR linear dose term. None of these factors modified the exponential quadratic (high dose) term. Sex, age at exposure and time since exposure were found to be significant modifiers of the radiation-related risk of thyroid cancer and as such are important factors to account for in clinical follow-up and thyroid cancer risk estimation among childhood cancer survivors.
As genome-wide association studies of breast cancer are replicating findings and refinement studies are narrowing the signal location, additional efforts are necessary to elucidate the underlying functional relationships. One approach is to evaluate variation in risk by genotype based on known breast carcinogens, such as ionizing radiation. Given the public health concerns associated with recent increases in medical radiation exposure, this approach may also identify potentially susceptible sub-populations. We examined interaction between 27 newly identified breast cancer risk alleles (identified within the NCI Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility and the Breast Cancer Association Consortium genome-wide association studies) and occupational and medical diagnostic radiation exposure among 859 cases and 1083 controls nested within the United States Radiologic Technologists cohort. We did not find significant variation in the radiation-related breast cancer risk for the variant in RAD51L1 (rs10483813) on 14q24.1 as we had hypothesized. In exploratory analyses, we found that the radiation-associated breast cancer risk varied significantly by linked markers in 5p12 (rs930395, rs10941679, rs2067980, and rs4415084) in the mitochondrial ribosomal protein S30 (MRPS30) gene (pinteraction=0.04). Chance, however, may explain these findings, and as such, these results need to be confirmed in other populations with low to moderate levels of radiation exposure. Even though a complete understanding by which these variants may increase breast cancer risk remains elusive, this approach may yield clues for further investigation.
Ionizing radiation-associated breast cancer risk appears to be modified by timing of reproductive events such as age at radiation exposure, parity, age at first live birth, and age at menopause. However, potential breast cancer risk modification of low- to moderate radiation dose by polymorphic estrogen metabolism-related gene variants has not been routinely investigated. We assessed breast cancer risk of 12 candidate variants in 12 genes involved in steroid metabolism, catabolism, binding, or receptor functions in a study of 859 cases and 1083 controls within the US Radiologic Technologists (USRT) cohort. Using cumulative breast dose estimates from a detailed assessment of occupational and personal diagnostic ionizing radiation exposure, we investigated the joint effects of genotype on the risk of breast cancer. In multivariate analyses, we observed a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer associated with the CYP3A4 M445T minor allele (rs4986910, OR=0.3; 95% CI 0.1–0.9). We found a borderline increased breast cancer risk with having both minor alleles of CYP1B1 V432L (rs1056836, CC vs. GG, OR=1.2; 95% CI 0.9–1.6). Assuming a recessive model, the minor allele of CYP1B1 V432L significantly increased the dose-response relationship between personal diagnostic x-ray exposure and breast cancer risk, adjusted for cumulative occupational radiation dose (pinteraction=0.03) and had a similar joint effect for cumulative occupational radiation dose adjusted for personal diagnostic x-ray exposure (pinteraction=0.06). We found suggestive evidence that common variants in selected estrogen metabolizing genes may modify the association between ionizing radiation exposure and breast cancer risk.
Risk factors for thyroid cancer remain largely unknown except for ionizing radiation exposure during childhood and a history of benign thyroid nodules. Because thyroid nodules are more common than thyroid cancers and are associated with thyroid cancer risk, we evaluated several polymorphisms potentially relevant to thyroid tumors and assessed interaction with ionizing radiation exposure to the thyroid gland. Thyroid nodules were detected in 1998 by ultrasound screening of 2997 persons who lived near the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan when they were children (1949-62). Cases with thyroid nodules (n=907) were frequency matched (1:1) to those without nodules by ethnicity (Kazakh or Russian), gender, and age at screening. Thyroid gland radiation doses were estimated from fallout deposition patterns, residence history, and diet. We analyzed 23 polymorphisms in 13 genes and assessed interaction with ionizing radiation exposure using likelihood ratio tests (LRT). Elevated thyroid nodule risks were associated with the minor alleles of RET S836S (rs1800862, p = 0.03) and GFRA1 -193C>G (rs not assigned, p = 0.05) and decreased risk with XRCC1 R194W (rs1799782, p-trend = 0.03) and TGFB1 T263I (rs1800472, p = 0.009). Similar patterns of association were observed for a small number of papillary thyroid cancers (n=25). Ionizing radiation exposure to the thyroid gland was associated with significantly increased risk of thyroid nodules (age and gender adjusted excess odds ratio/Gy = 0.30, 95% confidence interval 0.05-0.56), with evidence for interaction by genotype found for XRCC1 R194W (LRT p value = 0.02). Polymorphisms in RET signaling, DNA repair, and proliferation genes may be related to risk of thyroid nodules, consistent with some previous reports on thyroid cancer. Borderline support for gene-radiation interaction was found for a variant in XRCC1, a key base excision repair protein. Other pathways, such as genes in double strand break repair, apoptosis, and genes related to proliferation should also be pursued.
Thyroid nodules; single nucleotide polymorphisms; epidemiology; thyroid cancer; ionizing radiation; interaction
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are comprised of two histologic groups, seminomas and nonseminomas. We postulated that the possible divergent pathogeneses of these histologies may be partially explained by variable levels of net endogenous DNA damage. To test our hypothesis, we conducted a case-case analysis of 51 seminoma and 61 nonseminoma patients using data and specimens from the Familial Testicular Cancer study and the U.S. Radiologic Technologists cohort. A lymphoblastoid cell line was cultured for each patient and the alkaline comet assay was used to determine four parameters: tail DNA, tail length, comet distributed moment (CDM) and Olive tail moment (OTM). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated using logistic regression. Values for tail length, tail DNA, CDM and OTM were modeled as categorical variables using the 50th and 75th percentiles of the seminoma group. Tail DNA was significantly associated with nonseminoma compared to seminoma (OR50th percentile=3.31, 95%CI: 1.00, 10.98; OR75th percentile=3.71, 95%CI: 1.04, 13.20; p for trend=0.039). OTM exhibited similar, albeit statistically non-significant, risk estimates (OR50th percentile=2.27, 95%CI: 0.75, 6.87; OR75th percentile=2.40, 95%CI: 0.75, 7.71; p for trend=0.12) whereas tail length and CDM showed no association. In conclusion, the results for tail DNA and OTM indicate that net endogenous levels are higher in patients who develop nonseminoma compared with seminoma. This may partly explain the more aggressive biology and younger age-of-onset of this histologic subgroup compared with the relatively less aggressive, later-onset seminoma.
comet assay; nonseminoma; DNA damage; seminoma; testicular neoplasms
Collection of buccal cells from saliva for DNA extraction offers a less invasive and convenient alternative to venipuncture blood collection that may increase participation in genetic epidemiologic studies. However, dried blood spot collection, which is also a convenient method, offers a means of collecting peripheral blood samples from which analytes in addition to DNA can be obtained.
To determine if offering blood spot collection would increase participation in genetic epidemiologic studies, we conducted a study of collecting dried blood spot cards by mail from a sample of female cancer cases (n = 134) and controls (n = 256) who were previously selected for a breast cancer genetics study and declined to provide a venipuncture blood sample. Participants were also randomized to receive either a $2.00 bill or no incentive with the blood spot collection kits.
The average time between the venipuncture sample refusal and recruitment for the blood spot collection was 4.4 years. Thirty-seven percent of cases and 28% of controls provided a dried blood spot card. While the incentive was not associated with participation among controls (29% for $2.00 incentive vs. 26% for no incentive, p = 0.6), it was significantly associated with participation among the breast cancer cases (48% vs. 27%, respectively, p = 0.01). There did not appear to be any bias in response since no differences between cases and controls and incentive groups were observed when examining several demographic, work history and radiation exposure variables.
This study demonstrates that collection of dried blood spot cards in addition to venipuncture blood samples may be a feasible method to increase participation in genetic case-control studies.
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.
Radiation exposure; diagnostic x-rays; chromosome translocations; FISH; risk factors
Informative studies of cancer risks associated with medical radiation are difficult to conduct owing to low radiation doses, poor recall of diagnostic X rays, and long intervals before cancers occur. Chromosome aberrations have been associated with increased cancer risk and translocations are a known radiation biomarker. Seventy-nine U.S. radiologic technologists were selected for blood collection, and translocations were enumerated by whole chromosome painting. We developed a dose score to the red bone marrow for medical radiation exposure from X-ray examinations reported by the technologists that they received as patients. Using Poisson regression, we analyzed translocations in relation to the dose scores. Each dose score unit approximated 1 mGy. The estimated mean cumulative red bone marrow radiation dose score was 42 (range 1–265). After adjustment for age, occupational radiation, and radiotherapy for benign conditions, translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing red bone marrow dose score with an estimate of 0.007 translocations per 100 CEs per score unit (95% CI, 0.002 to 0.013; P = 0.01). Chromosome damage has been linked with elevated cancer risk, and we found that cumulative radiation exposure from medical X-ray examinations was associated with increased numbers of chromosome translocations.
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.
cataract; radiation; technology, radiologic; x-rays
Genome-wide association studies are discovering relationships between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and breast cancer, but the functions of these SNPs are unknown and environmental exposures are likely to be important. We assessed whether breast cancer risk SNPs interacted with ionizing radiation, a known breast carcinogen, among 859 cases and 1083 controls nested in the United States Radiologic Technologists cohort. Among eleven Breast Cancer Association Consortium risk SNPs, we found that the genotype-associated breast cancer risk varied significantly by radiation dose for rs2107425 in the H19 gene (pinteraction=0.001). H19 is a maternally expressed imprinted mRNA that is closely involved in regulating the IGF2 gene and could exert its influence by this or by some other radiation-related pathway.
Chromosome translocations in peripheral blood lymphocytes of normal, healthy humans increase with age, but the effects of gender, race, and cigarette smoking on background translocation yields have not been examined systematically. Further, the shape of the relationship between age and translocation frequency (TF) has not been definitively determined. We collected existing data from sixteen laboratories in North America, Europe, and Asia on TFs measured in peripheral blood lymphocytes by fluorescence in situ hybridization whole chromosome painting among 1933 individuals. In Poisson regression models, age, ranging from newborns (cord blood) to 85 years, was strongly associated with TF and this relationship showed significant upward curvature at older ages vs. a linear relationship (p <0.001). Ever smokers had significantly higher TFs than non-smokers (rate ratio (RR) = 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09–1.30) and smoking modified the effect of age on TFs with a steeper age-related increase among ever smokers compared to non-smokers (p<0.001). TFs did not differ by gender. Interpreting an independent effect of race was difficult owing to laboratory variation. Our study is three times larger than any pooled effort to date, confirming a suspected curvilinear relationship of TF with age. The significant effect of cigarette smoking has not been observed with previous pooled studies of TF in humans. Our data provide stable estimates of background TF by age, gender, race, and smoking status and suggest an acceleration of chromosome damage above age 60 and among those with a history of smoking cigarettes.
chromosome translocations; background frequency; controls; fluorescence in situ hybridization
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.
Radiologic technologists; Interventional radiography; Occupational radiation exposure; Mortality
Homozygous mutation in the ATM gene causes ataxia telangiectasia and heterozygous mutation carriers may be at increased risk of breast cancer. We studied a total of 22 ATM variants in two large population-based studies of 2856 breast cancer cases and 3344 controls from the U.S. and Poland. The missense mutation Ser49Cys (S49C), carried by approximately 2% of subjects, was more common in cases than controls in both study populations, combined odds ratio (OR) 1.69, 95% CI 1.19 – 2.40, P = 0.004. Another missense mutation at approximately 2% frequency, F858L, was associated with a significant increased risk in the U.S. study but not in Poland, combined OR of 1.44, 95% CI 0.98 – 2.11, P = 0.06. These analyses provide the most convincing evidence thus far that some missense mutations in ATM, particularly S49C, may be breast cancer susceptibility alleles. Because of their low frequency, even larger sample sizes are required to more firmly establish these associations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Breast cancer; kin-cohort; genetic variation; epidemiology; methods; risk factors
Hormonal differences are hypothesized to contribute to the approximately ≥2-fold higher thyroid cancer incidence rates among women compared with men worldwide. Although thyroid cancer cells express estrogen receptors and estrogen has a proliferative effect on papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) cells in vitro, epidemiologic studies have not found clear associations between thyroid cancer and female hormonal factors. We hypothesized that polymorphic variation in hormone pathway genes is associated with the risk of developing papillary thyroid cancer.
We evaluated the association between PTC and 1151 tag single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 58 candidate gene regions involved in sex hormone synthesis and metabolism, gonadotropins, and prolactin in a case-control study of 344 PTC cases and 452 controls, frequency matched on age and sex. Odds ratios and p-values for the linear trend for the association between each SNP genotype and PTC risk were estimated using unconditional logistic regression. SNPs in the same gene region or pathway were aggregated using adaptive rank-truncated product methods to obtain gene region-specific or pathway-specific p-values. To account for multiple comparisons, we applied the false discovery rate method.
Seven SNPs had p-values for linear trend <0.01, including four in the CYP19A1 gene, but none of the SNPs remained significant after correction for multiple comparisons. Results were similar when restricting the dataset to women. p-values for examined gene regions and for all genes combined were ≥0.09.
Based on these results, SNPs in selected hormone pathway genes do not appear to be strongly related to PTC risk. This observation is in accord with the lack of consistent associations between hormonal factors and PTC risk in epidemiologic studies.
The strong and consistent relationship between irradiation at a young age and subsequent thyroid cancer provides an excellent model for studying radiation carcinogenesis in humans. We thus evaluated differential gene expression in thyroid tissue in relation to iodine-131 (I-131) doses received from the Chernobyl accident. Sixty three of 104 papillary thyroid cancers diagnosed between 1998 and 2008 in the Ukrainian-American cohort with individual I-131 thyroid dose estimates had paired RNA specimens from fresh frozen tumor (T) and normal (N) tissue provided by the Chernobyl Tissue Bank and satisfied quality control criteria. We first hybridized 32 randomly allocated RNA specimen pairs (T/N) on 64 whole genome microarrays (Agilent, 4×44 K). Associations of differential gene expression (log2(T/N)) with dose were assessed using Kruskall-Wallis and trend tests in linear mixed regression models. While none of the genes withstood correction for the false discovery rate, we selected 75 genes with a priori evidence or P kruskall/P trend <0.0005 for validation by qRT-PCR on the remaining 31 RNA specimen pairs (T/N). The qRT-PCR data were analyzed using linear mixed regression models that included radiation dose as a categorical or ordinal variable. Eleven of 75 qRT-PCR assayed genes (ACVR2A, AJAP1, CA12, CDK12, FAM38A, GALNT7, LMO3, MTA1, SLC19A1, SLC43A3, ZNF493) were confirmed to have a statistically significant differential dose-expression relationship. Our study is among the first to provide direct human data on long term differential gene expression in relation to individual I-131 doses and to identify a set of genes potentially important in radiation carcinogenesis.
Controversy regarding potential health risks from increased use of medical diagnostic radiologic examinations has come to public attention. We evaluated whether chromosome damage, specifically translocations, which are a potentially intermediate biomarker for cancer risk, was increased after exposure to diagnostic X-rays, with particular interest in the ionizing radiation dose–response below the level of approximately 50 mGy. Chromosome translocation frequency data from three separately conducted occupational studies of ionizing radiation were pooled together. Studies 1 and 2 included 79 and 150 medical radiologic technologists, respectively, and study 3 included 83 airline pilots and 50 university faculty members (total = 155 women and 207 men; mean age = 62 years, range 34–90). Information on personal history of radiographic examinations was collected from a detailed questionnaire. We computed a cumulative red bone marrow (RBM) dose score based on the numbers and types of X-ray examinations reported with 1 unit approximating 1 mGy. Poisson regression analyses were adjusted for age and laboratory method. Mean RBM dose scores were 49, 42, and 11 for Studies 1–3, respectively (overall mean = 33.5, range 0–303). Translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing dose score (P < 0.001). Restricting the analysis to the lowest dose scores of under 50 did not materially change these results. We conclude that chromosome damage is associated with low levels of radiation exposure from diagnostic X-ray examinations, including dose scores of approximately 50 and lower, suggesting the possibility of long-term adverse health effects.
Ionizing radiation, an established breast cancer risk factor, has been shown to induce oxidative damage and chronic inflammation. Polymorphic variation in oxidative stress and inflammatory-mediated pathway genes may modify radiation-related breast cancer risk.
We estimated breast cancer risk for 28 common variants in 16 candidate genes involved in these pathways among 859 breast cancer cases and 1,083 controls nested within the US Radiologic Technologists cohort. We estimated associations between occupational and personal diagnostic radiation exposures with breast cancer by modeling the odds ratio (OR) as a linear function in logistic regression models and assessed heterogeneity of the dose–response across genotypes.
There was suggestive evidence of an interaction between the rs5277 variant in PTGS2 and radiation-related breast cancer risk. The excess OR (EOR)/Gy from occupational radiation exposure = 5.5 (95%CI 1.2–12.5) for the GG genotype versus EOR/Gy < 0 (95%CI < 0–3.8) and EOR/Gy < 0 (95%CI < 0–14.8) for the GC and CC genotypes, respectively, (pinteraction = 0.04). The association between radiation and breast cancer was not modified by other SNPs examined.
This study suggests that variation in PTGS2 may modify the breast cancer risk from occupational radiation exposure, but replication in other populations is needed to confirm this result.
PTGS2; COX-2; Inflammation; Breast cancer; Radiation