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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Sep;22(9):1547-56. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0189. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

Diagnostic chest X-rays and breast cancer risk before age 50 years for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers.

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Cancer Prevention Institute of California, 2201 Walnut Avenue, Suite 300, Fremont, CA 94538-2334, USA.



The effects of low-dose medical radiation on breast cancer risk are uncertain, and few studies have included genetically susceptible women, such as those who carry germline BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.


We studied 454 BRCA1 and 273 BRCA2 mutation carriers ages younger than 50 years from three breast cancer family registries in the United States, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand. We estimated breast cancer risk associated with diagnostic chest X-rays by comparing mutation carriers with breast cancer (cases) with those without breast cancer (controls). Exposure to chest X-rays was self-reported. Mammograms were not considered in the analysis.


After adjusting for known risk factors for breast cancer, the ORs for a history of diagnostic chest X-rays, excluding those for tuberculosis or pneumonia, were 1.16 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.64-2.11] for BRCA1 mutations carriers and 1.22 (95% CI, 0.62-2.42) for BRCA2 mutations carriers. The OR was statistically elevated for BRCA2 mutation carriers with three to five diagnostic chest X-rays (P = 0.01) but not for those with six or more chest X-rays. Few women reported chest fluoroscopy for tuberculosis or chest X-rays for pneumonia; the OR estimates were elevated, but not statistically significant, for BRCA1 mutation carriers.


Our findings do not support a positive association between diagnostic chest X-rays and breast cancer risk before the ages of 50 years for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers.


Given the increasing use of diagnostic imaging involving higher ionizing radiation doses, further studies of genetically predisposed women are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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