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.
Health effects as a result of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant occurred in 1986 are considered in the paper. Wrong prognosis of the health effects with respect to mortality and morbidity among the population exposed to low radiation doses is shown. Proven increase in thyroid cancer cases among people who were children aged from 0 to 18 at the time of the accident is shown. Linear relationship between thyroid cancer cases and dose to thyroid ranged from 0.2 to 4.0 Gy is considered. An additional absolute risk of thyroid cancer in children varies in the range 1.9-2.6 cases per 10(4) person-year Gy. During the fifteen years following the accident no cases of acute and chronic radiation sickness have been revealed because the population living in contaminated areas received low radiation doses. Also, exposures to low radiation doses did not result in excess of malignant tumors among population. In some cases the outcomes of acute radiation sickness were as follows: radiation damages to the skin, cancer cataracts, development of oncopathology.
Presented are the results of morphological studies of radiation sickness, congenital malformations and malignant tumors which have developed in Chemobyl victims. Until now consequences of the accident remain a subject of practical and research medicine. Scope of relevant topical problems the pathologists will have to investigate in the future is discussed.
Heterotrimeric G proteins participate in the signal transduction cascade. Adult thyroid tumors have been shown to harbor specific point mutations in codons 201 and 227 of the G(s)alpha subunit of the adenylate cyclase stimulator. This protein affects the GDP/GTP turnover and finally results in an enhanced activation of G(s) and thus adenylate cyclase. We attempted to find out if G(s)alpha gene mutations were present in thyroid tumors of children from Belarus after the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Paraffin sections of 20 thyroid tumors were used for PCR amplification by oligonucleotide intron primers flanking exons 8 and 9, encompassing codon 201 and 227, respectively. By direct sequencing of the 274-bp amplification product, we did not detect any mutations of the G(s)alpha gene in codon 201 or 227. In contrast to thyroid neoplasia of adults, G(s)alpha gene mutations do not play a role in the development of childhood thyroid tumors after the Chernobyl reactor accident.
Thyroid carcinomas of an additional series of 34 children exposed to radioactive fall-out after the Chernobyl reactor accident were analysed for mutations in the H-, K- and N-RAS and the p53 gene. Allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization, single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) and direct sequencing did not disclose mutations in codons 12, 13 and 61 of RAS genes nor mutations in exons 5, 7 and 8 of p53. Considering the recently reported high prevalence of RET rearrangements of the PTC3 type in childhood tumours after Chernobyl (Klugbauer et al, 1995, Oncogene 11: 2459-2467), it follows that RET rearrangements are the most relevant molecular aberration in these radiation-induced tumours. RAS or p53 mutations do not play a role in childhood thyroid carcinogenesis after Chernobyl.
The similarity of average parameters of thyrocyte aggregates and their distribution on histograms was revealed using comparative morphometric analysis of pre- and postoperative samples from thyroid glands of patients with identical histologic analyses. These regularities may be used as additional diagnostic criteria of thyroid cancer at both pre- and postoperative stages.
[Activities of the Byelorussian scientific association of phthisiatrists and the phthisiatric organization of the Republic in the circumstances of complicated critical state of tuberculosis in connection with the Chernobyl AES accident]