We developed three absolute risk models for second primary thyroid cancer to assist with long-term clinical monitoring of childhood cancer survivors.
Patients and Methods
We used data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) and two nested case-control studies (Nordic CCSS; Late Effects Study Group). Model M1 included self-reported risk factors, model M2 added basic radiation and chemotherapy treatment information abstracted from medical records, and model M3 refined M2 by incorporating reconstructed radiation absorbed dose to the thyroid. All models were validated in an independent cohort of French childhood cancer survivors.
M1 included birth year, initial cancer type, age at diagnosis, sex, and past thyroid nodule diagnosis. M2 added radiation (yes/no), radiation to the neck (yes/no), and alkylating agent (yes/no). Past thyroid nodule was consistently the strongest risk factor (M1 relative risk [RR], 10.8; M2 RR, 6.8; M3 RR, 8.2). In the validation cohort, 20-year absolute risk predictions for second primary thyroid cancer ranged from 0.04% to 7.4% for M2. Expected events agreed well with observed events for each model, indicating good calibration. All models had good discriminatory ability (M1 area under the receiver operating characteristics curve [AUC], 0.71; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.77; M2 AUC, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.73 to 0.86; M3 AUC, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69 to 0.82).
We developed and validated three absolute risk models for second primary thyroid cancer. Model M2, with basic prior treatment information, could be useful for monitoring thyroid cancer risk in childhood cancer survivors.
Geographic gradients in breast cancer incidence and mortality suggest that vitamin D may reduce risk. The enzyme 25-hydroxyvitamin D 24-hydroxylase (CYP24A1), which degrades the active form of vitamin D, and the vitamin D receptor (VDR) are both found in breast tissue. We investigated six polymorphisms in CYP24A1 and two in the VDR gene in association with breast cancer risk.
Materials and Methods
We conducted a case--control study within the nationwide U.S. Radiologic Technologists cohort, including 845 controls and 484 incident breast cancer cases. Associations of polymorphic variants and ecologic and personal measures of sun exposure with breast cancer risk were assessed using unconditional logistic regression.
Two polymorphisms in CYP24A1 were associated with increased breast cancer risk (rs34043203, Ptrend = 0.03; rs2762934, Ptrend = 0.005) and one with reduced breast cancer risk (rs1570669, Ptrend=0.048). Risk was inversely associated with minor alleles for the VDR Bsm1 polymorphism (rs1544410, Ptrend = 0.05) but not Fok1 (rs2228570). Sunlight measures were not associated with breast cancer risk, however significant interactions between time outdoors in the teen years and three unlinked genotypes were found for VDR (rs1544410, rs2228570) and CYP24A1 (rs1570669).
In this nation-wide breast cancer case--control study, we found the vitamin D pathway was involved in disease etiology and further suggest that reduced cancer risk in association with sunlight may depend on timing of exposure and genetic background. These findings merit further investigation.
Vitamin D; sunlight; polymorphisms; breast cancer; gene; case—control
There is great interest in evaluating gene-environment interactions with chemical exposures, but exposure assessment poses a unique challenge in case-control studies. Expert assessment of detailed work history data is usually considered the best approach, but it is a laborious and time-consuming process. We set out to determine if a less intensive method of exposure assessment (a job exposure matrix [JEM]) would produce similar results to a previous analysis that found evidence of effect modification between expert assessed-lead exposure and risk of brain tumors by a single nucleotide polymorphism in the ALAD gene (rs1800435).
We used data from a study of 355 patients with glioma, 151 patients with meningioma and 505 controls. Logistic regression models were used to examine associations between brain tumor risk and lead exposure and effect modification by genotype. We evaluated Cohen’s kappa, sensitivity and specificity for the JEM compared to the expert-assessed exposure metrics.
Although effect estimates were imprecise and driven by a small number of cases, we found evidence of effect modification between lead exposure and ALAD genotype when using expert- but not JEM-derived lead exposure estimates. Kappa values indicated only modest agreement (< 0.5) for the exposure metrics, with the JEM indicating high specificity (~0.9) but poor sensitivity (~0.5). Disagreement between the two methods was generally due to having additional information in the detailed work history.
These results provide preliminary evidence suggesting that high quality exposure data are likely to improve the ability to detect genetic effect modification.
Childhood cancer five-year survival now exceeds 70–80%. Childhood exposure to radiation is a known thyroid carcinogen; however, data are limited for the evaluation of radiation dose-response at high doses, modifiers of the dose-response relationship and joint effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. To address these issues, we pooled two cohort and two nested case-control studies of childhood cancer survivors including 16,757 patients, with 187 developing primary thyroid cancer. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for thyroid cancer by treatment with alkylating agents, anthracyclines or bleomycin were 3.25 (0.9–14.9), 4.5 (1.4–17.8) and 3.2 (0.8–10.4), respectively, in patients without radiotherapy, and declined with greater radiation dose (RR trends, P = 0.02, 0.12 and 0.01, respectively). Radiation dose-related RRs increased approximately linearly for <10 Gy, leveled off at 10–15-fold for 10–30 Gy and then declined, but remained elevated for doses >50 Gy. The fitted RR at 10 Gy was 13.7 (95% CI: 8.0–24.0). Dose-related excess RRs increased with decreasing age at exposure (P < 0.01), but did not vary with attained age or time-since-exposure, remaining elevated 25+ years after exposure. Gender and number of treatments did not modify radiation effects. Thyroid cancer risks remained elevated many decades following radiotherapy, highlighting the need for continued follow up of childhood cancer survivors.
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
Despite the compelling association between wood dust and sinonasal cancer, there has been little systematic and rigorous study of the relationship between wood dust and lung cancer. We investigated whether a history of exposure to wood dust through occupational and hobby-related activities was associated with increased lung cancer risk.
We conducted a population-based case-control study, with 440 cases, identified from 1993 to 1996 through the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Cancer Surveillance System for western Washington State, and 845 age-matched controls, identified by random-digit dialing. Using detailed work and personal histories, quantitative estimates of cumulative exposure to wood dust (thought to be primarily from softwood) were calculated for each participant. Using unconditional logistic regression adjusted for age and smoking status, risk of lung cancer was examined in relation to employment in wood-related occupations, working with wood as a hobby, as well as cumulative wood dust exposure that took into account both occupational and hobby-related sources.
While we observed an increased risk of lung cancer associated with working in a sawmill (OR=1.5; 95% CI: 1.1, 2.1), we found no evidence of increased risks with other occupations, working with wood as a hobby or with estimated cumulative exposure to wood dust (OR = 0.9; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.3, for highest compared to lowest quartile of exposure). Contrary to our hypothesis, we observed modest non-significant decreased risks with exposure to wood dust, although no dose-response relationship was apparent.
This study provided somewhat reassuring evidence that softwood dust does not increase the risk of lung cancer, but future studies should closely evaluate exposure to hardwood dusts. Suggestive evidence for an inverse association may be attributable to the presence of endotoxin in the wood dust, but the lack of a dose-response relationship suggests a non-causal relationship.
Urothelial Carcinoma (UC) has the highest lifetime treatment cost of any cancer making it an ideal target for preventative therapies. Previous work has suggested that certain vitamin and mineral supplements may reduce the risk of UC. We sought to use the prospective VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort to examine the association of all commonly taken vitamin and mineral supplements as well as 6 common anti-inflammatory supplements with incident UC in a United States population.
77,050 eligible VITAL participants completed a detailed questionnaire at baseline on supplement use and cancer risk factors. . After 6 years of follow-up, 330 incident UC cases occurring in the cohort were identified via linkage to the Seattle-Puget Sound Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) cancer registry. We analyzed use of supplemental vitamins (multivitamins, beta-carotene, retinol, folic acid, vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, C, D and E), minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium), and anti-inflammatory supplements (glucosamine, chondroitin, saw-palmetto, ginko-biloba, fish oil and garlic). For each supplement, the hazard ratios (risk ratios) for UC comparing each category of users to nonusers, and 95% confidence intervals, were determined using Cox proportional hazards regression., adjusted for potential confounders.
None of the vitamin, mineral or anti-inflammatory supplements was significantly associated with UC risk in either age-adjusted or multivariate models.
The results of this study do not support the use of commonly taken vitamin or mineral supplements or 6 common anti-inflammatory supplements for chemoprevention of UC.
Urothelial Carcinoma; Supplement; Diet; Nutrition; Cancer Prevention
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.
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
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.
The Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) initiative has conducted a three-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) of breast cancer in 9,770 cases and 10,799 controls. In Stage 1, we genotyped 528,173 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1,145 cases of invasive breast cancer among postmenopausal white women, and 1,142 controls; in Stage 2, 24,909 SNPs with low p values observed in Stage 1 were analyzed in 4,547 cases and 4,434 controls. In Stage 3 we investigated 21 loci in 4,078 cases and 5,223 controls with low p values from Stage 1 and 2 combined. Two novel loci achieved genome-wide significance. A pericentromeric SNP on chromosome 1p11.2, rs11249433, (p=6.74 × 10-10 adjusted genotype test with 2 degrees of freedom) resides in a large block of linkage disequilibrium neighboring NOTCH2 and FCGR1B and is predominantly associated with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. A second SNP, rs999737 on chromosome 14q24.1 (p=1.74 × 10−7), localizes to RAD51L1, a gene in the homologous recombination DNA repair pathway, a prior candidate pathway for breast cancer susceptibility. We confirmed previously reported markers on chromosome 2q35, 5q11.2, 5p12, 8q24, 10q26, and 16q12.1. Our results underscore the importance of large-scale replication in the identification of low penetrance breast cancer alleles.
There is some evidence that oxidative stress plays a role in lead-induced toxicity. Mechanisms for dealing with oxidative stress may be of particular relevance in the brain, given the high rate of oxygen metabolism. Using a hospital-based case-control study, we investigated the role of oxidative stress in the potential carcinogenicity of lead through examination of effect modification of the association between occupational lead exposure and brain tumors by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes with functions related to oxidative stress. The study included 362 patients with glioma [176 of which had glioblastoma (GBM)], 134 patients with meningioma and 494 controls. Lead exposure was estimated by expert review of detailed job history data for each participant. We evaluated effect modification with 142 SNPs using likelihood ratio tests that compared nested unconditional logistic regression models that did and did not include a cross-product term for cumulative lead exposure and genotype. When the analyses were restricted to cases with GBM, RAC2 rs2239774 and two highly correlated GPX1 polymorphisms (rs1050450 and rs18006688) were found to significantly modify the association with lead exposure (p ≤ 0.05) after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Furthermore, the same GPX1 polymorphisms and XDH rs7574920 were found to significantly modify the association between cumulative lead exposure and meningioma. While the results of this study provide some evidence that lead may cause GBM and meningioma through mechanisms related to oxidative damage, the results must be confirmed in other populations.
glioma; meningioma; lead exposure; oxidative stress; polymorphism
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
To determine the major factors affecting the urinary levels of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) among county noxious weed applicators in Kansas, we used a regression technique that accounted for multiple days of exposure. We collected 136 12-h urine samples from 31 applicators during the course of two spraying seasons (April to August of 1994 and 1995). Using mixed-effects models, we constructed exposure models that related urinary 2,4-D measurements to weighted self-reported work activities from daily diaries collected over 5 to 7 days before the collection of the urine sample. Our primary weights were based on an earlier pharmacokinetic analysis of turf applicators; however, we examined a series of alternative weighting schemes to assess the impact of the specific weights and the number of days before urine sample collection that were considered. The derived models accounting for multiple days of exposure related to a single urine measurement seemed robust with regard to the exact weights, but less to the number of days considered; albeit the determinants from the primary model could be fitted with marginal losses of fit to the data from the other weighting schemes that considered a different numbers of days. In the primary model, the total time of all activities (spraying, mixing, other activities), spraying method, month of observation, application concentration, and wet gloves were significant determinants of urinary 2,4-D concentration and explained 16% of the between-worker variance and 23% of the within-worker variance of urinary 2,4-D levels. As a large proportion of the variance remained unexplained, further studies should be conducted to try to systematically assess other exposure determinants.
2,4-D; biomonitoring; herbicide; exposure determinants
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.
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
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.