Tuesday, February 8, 2011

MDS in Atomic Bomb survivors

In the JCO:

Fortunately there are very few populations in which the late effects of single instance low dose whole body radiation can be studied. Fortunately also, the Japanese and US government have been very helpful in performing large scale studies of the long term effects of the two bombs dropped. While a fair amount of the secondary cancer risk has been published, from the data presented in JCO this week, MDS is clearly another risk that should be monitored for.

Links and Abstract:

Risk of Myelodysplastic Syndromes in People Exposed to Ionizing Radiation: A Retrospective Cohort Study of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors [Epidemiology]: "Purpose

The risk of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) has not been fully investigated among people exposed to ionizing radiation. We investigate MDS risk and radiation dose-response in Japanese atomic bomb survivors.

Patients and Methods

We conducted a retrospective cohort study by using two databases of Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors: 64,026 people with known exposure distance in the database of Nagasaki University Atomic-Bomb Disease Institute (ABDI) and 22,245 people with estimated radiation dose in the Radiation Effects Research Foundation Life Span Study (LSS). Patients with MDS diagnosed from 1985 to 2004 were identified by record linkage between the cohorts and the Nagasaki Prefecture Cancer Registry. Cox and Poisson regression models were used to estimate relationships between exposure distance or dose and MDS risk.


There were 151 patients with MDS in the ABDI cohort and 47 patients with MDS in the LSS cohort. MDS rate increased inversely with exposure distance, with an excess relative risk (ERR) decay per km of 1.2 (95% CI, 0.4 to 3.0; P < .001) for ABDI. MDS risk also showed a significant linear response to exposure dose level (P < .001) with an ERR per Gy of 4.3 (95% CI, 1.6 to 9.5; P < .001). After adjustment for sex, attained age, and birth year, the MDS risk was significantly greater in those exposed when young.


A significant linear radiation dose-response for MDS exists in atomic bomb survivors 40 to 60 years after radiation exposure. Clinicians should perform careful long-term follow-up of irradiated people to detect MDS as early as possible.


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