The Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident happened on April 26, 1986. We investigated the cause of the striking increase in frequency of thyroid cancer in children who lived within a 150 km radius of Chernobyl and who were born before and after the accident. No thyroid cancer was seen in 9472 children born in 1987-89, whereas one and 31 thyroid cancers were recorded in 2409 children born April 27, 1986, to Dec 31, 1986, and 9720 born Jan 1, 1983, to April 26, 1986, respectively. Short-lived radioactive fallout caused by the Chernobyl accident probably induced thyroid cancer in children living near Chernobyl.
The level of radiation exposure in children in Belarus caused by the Chernobyl accident was investigated on the basis of whole body 137Cs count. The subjects were 10,062 children (4,762 boys and 5,300 girls) in Mogilev and Gomel, Belarus, who received Chernobyl Sasakawa Health and Medical Cooperation Project health examinations from May 1991 to December 1992 and who were 5-16 y old at the time of examination. The median whole body 137Cs count per body weight varied from 21-48 Bq kg-1 and from 28-126 Bq kg-1 in Mogilev oblast and Gomel oblast, respectively. (The "oblast" is the largest administrative district constituting the country. Belarus consists of 6 oblasts). Corresponding annual effective dose equivalents were all less than the public dose limit of 1 mSv y-1, but the observed levels in the children were considerably higher than the average level of 2.3 Bq kg-1 reported in the past for the former Soviet Union.
Comment In: Health Phys. 1995 May;68(5):733-57730075
The high incidence of childhood thyroid cancer in Belarus is suspected to be due to radiation exposure after the Chernobyl reactor accident. To clarify the clinical and histological characteristics of childhood thyroid cancer in Belarus, we therefore compared these patients to a radiation non-exposed control series in Japan. In Belarus, 26 thyroid cancers in subjects aged 15 or younger were diagnosed among 25,000 screened between 1991 and 1995 by Chernobyl-Sasakawa Health and Medical Cooperation Project. The clinical and morphologic features of these 26 cases were compared to 37 childhood thyroid cancers in Japan diagnosed between 1962 and 1995. The age distribution at operation in Belarus showed a peak at 10 years old, with a subsequent fall in numbers. In contrast, the age distribution at operation in Japan showed a smooth increase between the ages of 8 and 14. The mean tumor diameter was smaller in Belarus than that in Japan (1.4 +/- 0.7 vs. 4.1 +/- 1.7 cm, P
Screening by ultrasound examination and fine-needle aspiration cytological biopsy (FNA) was conducted in five regions in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia to investigate the prevalence of childhood thyroid diseases around Chernobyl. Gomel, Zhitomir, Kiev, and the western area of Bryansk are the administrative regions where severe radioactive contamination occurred. The subjects from Mogilev, where contamination was relatively low, served as controls. Among 55,054 subjects (26,406 boys and 28,648 girls), the prevalence of ultrasonographic thyroid abnormalities such as nodule, cyst, and abnormal echogenity was significantly higher in the regions with severe contamination than in Mogilev. Of the 1,396 children showing echographic thyroid abnormalities 197 were selected for FNA, and a sample was successfully obtained for diagnosis from 171 (51 boys and 120 girls) of the 197 subjects. The aspirate was insufficient for diagnosis in the remaining 26 subjects. Thyroid cancer was encountered in four children (2.3%) from the contaminated regions, two children being from Gomel. The other thyroid diseases were follicular neoplasm, 6.4%; adenomatous goiter, 18.7%; chronic thyroiditis, 31.0%; and cyst, 24.0%, suggesting that a major cause of thyroid nodularity is nonneoplastic changes, mainly chronic thyroiditis and cysts. These results will serve as an important data base for further analyses and suggest that childhood thyroid diseases, including both neoplasms and immunological disorders, are consequences of radioactive fallout.
A new familial cases of the Cohen syndrome in two brothers of one-half second-cousin parents is reported. Typical clinical manifestations of the syndrome; i.e., mental deficiency, hypotonia, characteristic facial appearance, long, narrow hands and feet with elongated fingers, and mottled retinae were present in both patients. Both patients also had leukopenia. Clinical manifestations of the Cohen syndrome in patients are highly variable, and mottled retina has been observed in 22 of 87 patients (25%). However, an association of mottled retina in patients with the Cohen syndrome is likely to be related to the families and ethnic groups. Among 19 familial cases, mottled retina was observed in all affected sibs from five families, but in 13 families none of the affected sibs had the mottled retina. All Finnish patients had the mottled retina, but this was noted in only one of 39 Jewish patients. Based on these data, we hypothesize that two alleles at the gene locus for the Cohen syndrome exhibit different clinical manifestations: one is a Finnish type with mottled retina, and the other is a Jewish type without retinal anomalies.