Residential radon exposure and risk of incident hematologic malignancies in the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort

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Abstract

Dosimetric models show that radon, an established cause of lung cancer, delivers a non-negligible dose of alpha radiation to the bone marrow, as well as to lymphocytes in the tracheobronchial epithelium, and therefore could be related to risk of hematologic cancers. Studies of radon and hematologic cancer risk, however, have produced inconsistent results. To date there is no published prospective, population-based study of residential radon exposure and hematologic malignancy incidence. We used data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort established in 1992, to examine the association between county-level residential radon exposure and risk of hematologic cancer. The analytic cohort included 140,652 participants (66,572 men, 74,080 women) among which 3019 incident hematologic cancer cases (1711 men, 1308 women) were identified during 19 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to calculate multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for radon exposure and hematologic cancer risk. Women living in counties with the highest mean radon concentrations (>148 Bq/m3) had a statistically significant higher risk of hematologic cancer compared to those living in counties with the lowest (<74 Bq/m3) radon levels (HR=1.63, 95% CI:1.23–2.18), and there was evidence of a dose-response relationship (HRcontinuous=1.38, 95% CI:1.15–1.65 per 100 Bq/m3; p-trend=0.001). There was no association between county-level radon and hematologic cancer risk among men. The findings of this large, prospective study suggest residential radon may be a risk factor for lymphoid malignancies among women. Further study is needed to confirm these findings.

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