Little is known about long-term cancer risks following in utero radiation exposure. We evaluated the association between in utero radiation exposure and risk of solid cancer and leukemia mortality among 8,000 offspring, born from 1948-1988, of female workers at the Mayak Nuclear Facility in Ozyorsk, Russia. Mother's cumulative gamma radiation uterine dose during pregnancy served as a surrogate for fetal dose. We used Poisson regression methods to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of solid cancer and leukemia mortality associated with in utero radiation exposure and to quantify excess relative risks (ERRs) as a function of dose. Using currently available dosimetry information, 3,226 (40%) offspring were exposed in utero (mean dose = 54.5 mGy). Based on 75 deaths from solid cancers (28 exposed) and 12 (6 exposed) deaths from leukemia, in utero exposure status was not significantly associated with solid cancer: RR = 0.94, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.49; ERR/Gy = -0.1 (95% CI
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At Branch No. 1 of the Russian State Research Center "Biophysics Institute", a registry has been created of workers at the "Mayak" Production Association, the first nuclear complex in Russia. This registry includes 18,830 persons hired at Mayak's nuclear reactors and radiochemical and plutonium production plant between 1948 and 1972. Twenty-five percent of these workers are women. As of December 31, 1994, the vital status is known for approximately 90% of the cohort members. A total of 5,118 persons have died. The cause for 97% of total deaths has been ascertained. The cohort members were exposed to both external gamma radiation and internal radiation from incorporated plutonium. The plutonium body burden has been measured in 30% of the cohort members with potential for plutonium exposure. External gamma-ray doses were in the range from tenths of milligrays to about 10 Gy, and plutonium body burdens were up to about 260 kBq. In view of the nature of the Mayak worker cohort, it has the potential to provide reasonably precise, quantitative estimates of the long-term health effects associated with chronic low-dose-rate exposure to external gamma radiation as well as internal radiation from plutonium. However, a number of issues must be addressed before credible risk estimates can be obtained from this cohort. These issues include the development of an appropriate internal comparison group and/or external rates and separating of the effects of internal and external exposures on risk estimates.
An analysis of lung cancer mortality in a cohort of 1,669 Mayak workers who started their employment in the plutonium and reprocessing plants between 1948 and 1958 has been carried out in terms of a relative risk model. Particular emphasis has been given to a discrimination of the effects of external gamma-ray exposure and internal alpha-particle exposure due to incorporated plutonium. This study has also used the information from a cohort of 2,172 Mayak reactor workers who were exposed only to external gamma rays. The baseline lung cancer mortality rate has not been taken from national statistics but has been derived from the cohort itself. For both alpha particles and gamma rays, the results of the analysis are consistent with linear dose dependences. The estimated excess relative risk per unit organ dose equivalent in the lung due to the plutonium alpha particles at age 60 equals, according to the present study, 0.6/Sv, with a radiation weighting factor of 20 for alpha particles. The 95% confidence range is 0.39/Sv to 1.0/Sv. For the gamma-ray component, the present analysis suggests an excess relative risk for lung cancer mortality at age 60 of 0.20/Sv, with, however, a large 95% confidence range of-0.04/Sv to 0.69/Sv.
A new analysis of lung cancer mortality in a cohort of male Mayak workers who started their employment in the plutonium and reprocessing plants between 1948 and 1958 has been carried out in terms of a relative risk model. The follow-up has been extended until 1999, moreover a new dosimetry system (DOSES2000) has been established. Particular emphasis has been given to a discrimination of the effects of external gamma-exposure and internal alpha-exposure due to incorporated plutonium. This study has also utilized and incorporated the information from a cohort of Mayak reactor workers, who were exposed only externally to gamma-rays. The influence of smoking as the main confounding factor for lung cancer has been studied. The baseline lung cancer mortality rate was not taken from national statistics but was derived from the cohort itself. The estimated excess relative risk for the plutonium alpha-rays was 0.23/Sv (95%CI: 0.16-0.31). The resulting risk coefficient for external gamma-ray exposure was very low with a statistically insignificant estimate of 0.058/Sv (95%CI: -0.072-0.20). The inferred relative risk for smokers was 16.5 (95%CI: 12.6-20.5).