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Am J Cardiol. 2013 Nov 15;112(10):1545-50. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.07.009. Epub 2013 Aug 22.

Comparison of cancer risk associated with low-dose ionizing radiation from cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures after acute myocardial infarction in women versus men.

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Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Patients with cardiovascular disease are increasingly exposed to low-dose ionizing radiation (LDIR) from diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Previous studies have suggested that the malignancy risk associated with LDIR may be greatest in women and in young patients. We sought to compare the effect of LDIR on incident cancer across gender and age strata in a population-based cohort of patients with myocardial infarction (MI). All initially cancer-free patients with MI from 1996 to 2006 were identified in a province-wide administrative database. Procedure-specific LDIR dose estimates were used to generate a cumulative cardiac LDIR exposure variable. Time-dependent multivariate Cox regression was used to determine the relation between cardiac LDIR and incident cancer. A time-lag covariate of 3 years was used wherein a de novo cancer could only be attributed to LDIR incurred at least 3 years earlier. The effect of age and gender on LDIR-associated risk of cancer was evaluated with stratified models and the addition of interaction terms. The study cohort consisted of 56,606 men and 26,255 women. For each millisievert of cardiac LDIR, women were more likely to develop a cancer (hazard ratio 1.005, 95% confidence interval 1.002 to 1.008) than men (hazard ratio 1.002, 95% confidence interval 1.001 to 1.004) after adjusting for age, noncardiac LDIR, and covariates (p for interaction = 0.014). Contrarily, over the range studied (predominantly patients aged >50 years), age was not a determinant of LDIR-associated risk of cancer. In conclusion, women exposed to LDIR from cardiac imaging and therapeutic procedures after MI are at a greater risk of incident cancer compared with men after similar exposure. The extrapolated absolute risk from LDIR exposure would nonetheless be expected to be low.

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