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Radiation and Risk of Liver, Biliary Tract, and Pancreatic Cancers among Atomic Bomb Survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 1958-2009.

  • Sadakane, Atsuko1
  • French, Benjamin2
  • Brenner, Alina V1
  • Preston, Dale L3
  • Sugiyama, Hiromi1
  • Grant, Eric J4
  • Sakata, Ritsu1
  • Utada, Mai1
  • Cahoon, Elizabeth K5
  • Mabuchi, Kiyohiko5
  • Ozasa, Kotaro1
  • 1 Departments of Epidemiology.
  • 2 Departments of Statistics.
  • 3 Departments of Hirosoft International Corporation, Eureka, California.
  • 4 Departments of Associate Chief of Research, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, Hiroshima, Japan. , (Japan)
  • 5 Departments of Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland.
Published Article
Radiation Research
BioOne (Radiation Research Society)
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
DOI: 10.1667/RR15341.1
PMID: 31291162


The Life Span Study (LSS) of atomic bomb survivors has consistently demonstrated significant excess radiation-related risks of liver cancer since the first cancer incidence report. Here, we present updated information on radiation risks of liver, biliary tract and pancreatic cancers based on 11 additional years of follow-up since the last report, from 1958 to 2009. The current analyses used improved individual radiation doses and accounted for the effects of alcohol consumption, smoking and body mass index. The study participants included 105,444 LSS participants with known individual radiation dose and no known history of cancer at the start of follow-up. Cases were the first primary incident cancers of the liver (including intrahepatic bile duct), biliary tract (gallbladder and other and unspecified parts of biliary tract) or pancreas identified through linkage with population-based cancer registries in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Poisson regression methods were used to estimate excess relative risks (ERRs) and excess absolute risks (EARs) associated with DS02R1 doses for liver (liver and biliary tract cancers) or pancreas (pancreatic cancer). We identified 2,016 incident liver cancer cases during the follow-up period. Radiation dose was significantly associated with liver cancer risk (ERR per Gy: 0.53, 95% CI: 0.23 to 0.89; EAR per 10,000 person-year Gy: 5.32, 95% CI: 2.49 to 8.51). There was no evidence for curvature in the radiation dose response (P=0.344). ERRs by age-at-exposure categories were significantly increased among those who were exposed at 0-9, 10-19 and 20-29 years, but not significantly increased after age 30 years, although there was no statistical evidence of heterogeneity in these ERRs (P = 0.378). The radiation ERRs were not affected by adjustment for smoking, alcohol consumption or body mass index. As in previously reported studies, radiation dose was not associated with risk of biliary tract cancer (ERR per Gy: -0.02, 95% CI: -0.25 to 0.30). Radiation dose was associated with a nonsignificant increase in pancreatic cancer risk (ERR per Gy: 0.38, 95% CI: <0 to 0.83). The increased risk was statistically significant among women (ERR per Gy: 0.70, 95% CI: 0.12 to 1.45), but not among men.

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