Measurements of symmetrical translocations by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were performed for retrospective biodosimetry in a Techa River population exposed to external (gamma-rays) and internal (90Sr, 137Cs) irradiation.
Chromosome analyses were carried out on peripheral lymphocytes from 73 radiation-exposed residents from settlements along the Techa River (Southern Urals, Russia) located 7-148 km downstream from the site of release of liquid radioactive waste from the plutonium production facility Mayak. Thirty-nine unexposed persons from non-contaminated areas were used as controls. Whole-chromosome painting probes for chromosomes 1, 4 and 12 were used simultaneously with a pancentromeric probe.
A significantly elevated mean translocation frequency compared with controls was found for the total study group and for either of two subgroups of inhabitants residing in villages of the upper regions of the Techa River (7-60 km) during 1950 to 1951, or in villages of the lower regions (78-148 km) until the time of blood sampling. Within the first subgroup, subjects born between 1937 and 1949 showed higher translocation frequencies than those born between 1914 and 1936. Collective biodosimetry estimates for the various groups were between 0.24 and 0.54 Gy. Individual dose estimates for seven subjects with at least five translocations ranged between 0.77 and 1.80 Gy and compared well with doses reconstructed on the basis of 90Sr whole-body counts (WBC) and electronic paramagnetic resonance (EPR) measurements. Individual translocation frequencies from 40 subjects with existing WBC data and calculated cumulative red bone marrow doses below 0.6 Gy fall within the 95% prediction limits of the calibration curve.
FISH-based translocation measurements can provide useful information for a retrospective biodosimetric interpretation. However, with the analysed number of cells, individual estimates required for a reliable evaluation of this highly variable exposure situation can be obtained only for a minority of subjects. In addition, influence of a temporal decline on the yield of stable translocations cannot be fully excluded.
From 1949 onwards, radioactive waste was released into the Techa River in the southern Urals and the population living along the river was exposed to ionising radiation. Relocation of these people did not start until several years later, causing many individuals to be exposed to substantial doses from internal and external radiation. The identification and follow-up of the exposed individuals started more than 40 years ago and is still continuing. The Techa River offspring cohort (TROC) that has recently been established, comprises 10,459 children born to at least one parent living along the Techa River during the period 1950-1992. Of these children, 3,897 were born during the period of highest release, i.e. between 1950 and 1956 and might thus have been exposed in utero. A total of 1,103 individuals have since died mainly due to infectious and respiratory diseases, injury and poisoning. Only 25 cases were identified as having died of a malignant condition. The radioactive contamination of the Techa River in the southern Urals gives a unique possibility to study the adverse effects of protracted exposure to ionising radiation in a large well-described cohort. The Techa River offspring cohort will make it possible to study the effects on those exposed in utero or early in life and the follow-up of the cohort in the future is, therefore, of great importance. Comparisons with other cohorts of humans exposed early in life, will increase our knowledge in this field of research.
Large quantities of radioactive materials released over time from the Mayak nuclear weapons facility caused significant internal and external exposure for people living along the banks of the Techa River (Southern Urals, Russia). We conducted a nested case-control study in the Extended Techa River Cohort to determine whether the risk of leukaemia incidence increased with protracted exposure to ionising radiation or with other non-radiation risk factors. The study included 83 cases identified over 47 years of follow-up and 415 controls matched for sex, age at diagnosis, age (within a 5 year age group), and date of initial residence in the riverside area. External and internal doses have been calculated using the Techa River Dosimetry System 1996 (TRDS96). Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios per Gray (OR/Gy) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). After excluding cases of chronic lymphoid leukaemia, the OR/Gy of total, external, and internal doses were 4.6 (95% CI: 1.7-12.3), 7.2 (95%CI: 1.7-30.0) and 5.4 (95%CI: 1.1-27.2), respectively. A history of solid tumour, either malignant or benign, before the leukaemia diagnosis was associated with a 2.5-fold increase in the leukaemia risk (95% CI: 1.1-5.9). Even though the analysis of confounders was less useful than expected because of missing data, multivariate analyses that took the exposure dose into account confirmed the association between leukaemia incidence and tumour history.