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Radon and risk of extrapulmonary cancers: results of the German uranium miners' cohort study, 1960-2003.

Kreuzer M, Walsh L, Schnelzer M, Tschense A, Grosche B - Br. J. Cancer (2008)

Bottom Line: Internal Poisson regression was used to estimate the excess relative risk (ERR) per unit of cumulative exposure to radon in working level months (WLM).Statistically significant increases in mortality were recorded for cancers of the stomach (O/E=1.15; 95% CI: 1.06-1.25) and liver (O/E=1.26; 95% CI: 1.07-1.48), whereas significant decreases were found for cancers of the tongue, mouth, salivary gland and pharynx combined (O/E=0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.97) and those of the bladder (O/E=0.82; 95% CI: 0.70-0.95).Most sites showed positive exposure-response relationships, but these were insignificant or became insignificant after adjustment for potential confounders such as arsenic or dust exposure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Department of Radiation Protection and Health, Neuherberg 85764, Germany. mkreuzer@bfs.de

ABSTRACT
Data from the German miners' cohort study were analysed to investigate whether radon in ambient air causes cancers other than lung cancer. The cohort includes 58,987 men who were employed for at least 6 months from 1946 to 1989 at the former Wismut uranium mining company in Eastern Germany. A total of 20,684 deaths were observed in the follow-up period from 1960 to 2003. The death rates for 24 individual cancer sites were compared with the age and calendar year-specific national death rates. Internal Poisson regression was used to estimate the excess relative risk (ERR) per unit of cumulative exposure to radon in working level months (WLM). The number of deaths observed (O) for extrapulmonary cancers combined was close to that expected (E) from national rates (n=3340, O/E=1.02; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98-1.05). Statistically significant increases in mortality were recorded for cancers of the stomach (O/E=1.15; 95% CI: 1.06-1.25) and liver (O/E=1.26; 95% CI: 1.07-1.48), whereas significant decreases were found for cancers of the tongue, mouth, salivary gland and pharynx combined (O/E=0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.97) and those of the bladder (O/E=0.82; 95% CI: 0.70-0.95). A statistically significant relationship with cumulative radon exposure was observed for all extrapulmonary cancers (ERR/WLM=0.014%; 95% CI: 0.006-0.023%). Most sites showed positive exposure-response relationships, but these were insignificant or became insignificant after adjustment for potential confounders such as arsenic or dust exposure. The present data provide some evidence of increased risk of extrapulmonary cancers associated with radon, but chance and confounding cannot be ruled out.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Mean annual exposure to radon and its progeny in working level months (WLM), external γ-radiation in mSv and long-lived radionuclides in kBqh m−3 among exposed miners.
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fig1: Mean annual exposure to radon and its progeny in working level months (WLM), external γ-radiation in mSv and long-lived radionuclides in kBqh m−3 among exposed miners.

Mentions: Figure 1 shows the annual mean exposure values for radon and its progeny in WLM, and for external γ-radiation in mSv and LRN in kBqh m−3 for the exposed cohort members. Radon concentrations decreased sharply after 1955 because of the introduction of several ventilation measures, which led to conditions in accordance with the international radiation protection standards after 1970. In contrast to this, external γ-radiation and LRN show a different pattern, because their concentration was not affected by the improved ventilation. The annual mean exposure values for fine dust, silica dust and arsenic are given in Figure 2. Owing to the use of dry drilling, the concentrations of dust had been very high until 1955 and then decreased steadily with the implementation of wet drilling, reaching very low levels after 1970. A total of 17 554 miners were exposed to arsenic, with higher annual values in the early years compared with the later years.


Radon and risk of extrapulmonary cancers: results of the German uranium miners' cohort study, 1960-2003.

Kreuzer M, Walsh L, Schnelzer M, Tschense A, Grosche B - Br. J. Cancer (2008)

Mean annual exposure to radon and its progeny in working level months (WLM), external γ-radiation in mSv and long-lived radionuclides in kBqh m−3 among exposed miners.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2600695&req=5

fig1: Mean annual exposure to radon and its progeny in working level months (WLM), external γ-radiation in mSv and long-lived radionuclides in kBqh m−3 among exposed miners.
Mentions: Figure 1 shows the annual mean exposure values for radon and its progeny in WLM, and for external γ-radiation in mSv and LRN in kBqh m−3 for the exposed cohort members. Radon concentrations decreased sharply after 1955 because of the introduction of several ventilation measures, which led to conditions in accordance with the international radiation protection standards after 1970. In contrast to this, external γ-radiation and LRN show a different pattern, because their concentration was not affected by the improved ventilation. The annual mean exposure values for fine dust, silica dust and arsenic are given in Figure 2. Owing to the use of dry drilling, the concentrations of dust had been very high until 1955 and then decreased steadily with the implementation of wet drilling, reaching very low levels after 1970. A total of 17 554 miners were exposed to arsenic, with higher annual values in the early years compared with the later years.

Bottom Line: Internal Poisson regression was used to estimate the excess relative risk (ERR) per unit of cumulative exposure to radon in working level months (WLM).Statistically significant increases in mortality were recorded for cancers of the stomach (O/E=1.15; 95% CI: 1.06-1.25) and liver (O/E=1.26; 95% CI: 1.07-1.48), whereas significant decreases were found for cancers of the tongue, mouth, salivary gland and pharynx combined (O/E=0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.97) and those of the bladder (O/E=0.82; 95% CI: 0.70-0.95).Most sites showed positive exposure-response relationships, but these were insignificant or became insignificant after adjustment for potential confounders such as arsenic or dust exposure.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Federal Office for Radiation Protection, Department of Radiation Protection and Health, Neuherberg 85764, Germany. mkreuzer@bfs.de

ABSTRACT
Data from the German miners' cohort study were analysed to investigate whether radon in ambient air causes cancers other than lung cancer. The cohort includes 58,987 men who were employed for at least 6 months from 1946 to 1989 at the former Wismut uranium mining company in Eastern Germany. A total of 20,684 deaths were observed in the follow-up period from 1960 to 2003. The death rates for 24 individual cancer sites were compared with the age and calendar year-specific national death rates. Internal Poisson regression was used to estimate the excess relative risk (ERR) per unit of cumulative exposure to radon in working level months (WLM). The number of deaths observed (O) for extrapulmonary cancers combined was close to that expected (E) from national rates (n=3340, O/E=1.02; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98-1.05). Statistically significant increases in mortality were recorded for cancers of the stomach (O/E=1.15; 95% CI: 1.06-1.25) and liver (O/E=1.26; 95% CI: 1.07-1.48), whereas significant decreases were found for cancers of the tongue, mouth, salivary gland and pharynx combined (O/E=0.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.97) and those of the bladder (O/E=0.82; 95% CI: 0.70-0.95). A statistically significant relationship with cumulative radon exposure was observed for all extrapulmonary cancers (ERR/WLM=0.014%; 95% CI: 0.006-0.023%). Most sites showed positive exposure-response relationships, but these were insignificant or became insignificant after adjustment for potential confounders such as arsenic or dust exposure. The present data provide some evidence of increased risk of extrapulmonary cancers associated with radon, but chance and confounding cannot be ruled out.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus