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Radiat Res. 2002 Jun;157(6):668-77.

Malignant neoplasms after radiation therapy for peptic ulcer.

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  • 1Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Most information on radiation-related cancer risk comes from the Life Span Study (LSS) of the Japanese atomic bomb survivors. Stomach cancer mortality rates are much higher in Japan than in the U.S., making the applicability of LSS findings to the U.S. population uncertain. A unique cohort of U.S. patients who were irradiated for peptic ulcer to control gastric secretion provides a different perspective on risk. Cancer mortality data were analyzed and relative risks estimated for 3719 subjects treated by radiotherapy (mean stomach dose 14.8 Gy) and/or by surgery and medication during the period 1936-1965 and followed through 1997 (average 25 years). Compared to the U.S. rates, stomach cancer mortality was significantly increased for irradiated and nonirradiated patients (observed/expected = 3.20 and 1.52, respectively). We observed strong evidence of exposure-related excess mortality from cancer of the stomach (RR 2.6, 95% CI 1.3, 5.1), pancreas (RR 2.7, 95% CI 1.5, 5.1), and lung (RR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1, 2.1), with commensurate radiation dose responses in analyses that included nonexposed patients. However, the dose responses for these cancers were not significant when restricted to exposed patients. Our excess relative risk per gray estimate of 0.20 at doses <or=10 Gy (95% CI 0, 0.73) is consistent with the estimate of 0.24 (95% CI 0.10, 0.40) obtained from the LSS study with the linear model.

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