Low doses of ionizing radiation and risk of cardiovascular disease: A review of epidemiological studies

Laboratoire d'épidémiologie, IRSN/DRPH/SRBE/LEPID, BP 17, 92262 Fontenay-aux-Roses cedex, France.
Revue d Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique (Impact Factor: 0.66). 09/2009; 57(5):347-59. DOI: 10.1016/j.respe.2009.04.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While cardiovascular risks associated with high level of ionizing radiation are well-established, long-term effects of low and medium levels of exposure, between 0 and 5 gray (Gy), on the cardiovascular system are debated.
Available literature was reviewed considering various populations, such as survivors of atomic bombs, nuclear workers, Chernobyl liquidators, radiologists and radiological technologists and patients exposed for medical reasons.
A significant increased risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with low doses of ionizing radiation was observed in 13 studies among the 27 analyzed. The ischemic heart diseases risk was detailed in 16 studies and seven of them showed a significant increase. The cerebrovascular risk was significantly increased in five studies among the 12 considered.
Some epidemiological and experimental data are clearly in favour of an increased cardiovascular risk associated with exposure to low doses. However, given the multifactorial origin of cardiovascular diseases and the lack of a clear pathophysiologic mechanism, epidemiological results have to be carefully interpreted. Further research should be conducted in this area.

1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is a clear association between therapeutic doses of thoracic irradiation and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in cancer survivors, although these effects may take decades to become symptomatic. Long-term survivors of Hodgkin's lymphoma and childhood cancers have two-fold to more than seven-fold increased risks for late cardiac deaths after total tumour doses of 30-40 Gy, given in 2 Gy fractions, where large volumes of heart were included in the field. Increased cardiac mortality is also seen in women irradiated for breast cancer. Breast doses are generally 40-50 Gy in 2 Gy fractions, but only a small part of the heart is included in the treatment fields and mean heart doses rarely exceeded 10-15 Gy, even with older techniques. The relative risks of cardiac mortality (1.1-1.4) are consequently lower than for Hodgkin's lymphoma survivors. Some epidemiological studies show increased risks of cardiac death after accidental or environmental total body exposures to much lower radiation doses. The mechanisms whereby these cardiac effects occur are not fully understood and different mechanisms are probably involved after high therapeutic doses to the heart, or part of the heart, than after low total body exposures. These various mechanisms probably result in different cardiac pathologies, e.g. coronary artery atherosclerosis leading to myocardial infarct, versus microvascular damage and fibrosis leading to congestive heart failure. Experimental studies can help to unravel some of these mechanisms and may identify suitable strategies for managing or inhibiting CVD. In this overview, the main epidemiological and clinical evidence for radiation-induced CVD is summarised. Experimental data shedding light on some of the underlying pathologies and possible targets for intervention are also discussed.
    Clinical Oncology 07/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.clon.2013.06.012 · 2.83 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article presents the mortality data compiled among a cohort of workers at risk of internal uranium exposure and discusses the extent to which this exposure might differentiate them from other nuclear workers. The cohort consisted of 2897 Areva-NC-Pierrelatte plant workers, followed from 1st January 1968 through 31st December 2006 (79,892 person-years). Mortality was compared with that of the French population, by calculating Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMR) and 95 % confidence intervals (CI95 %). External radiation exposure was reconstructed using external dosimetry archives. Internal uranium exposure was assessed using a plant-specific job-exposure-matrix, considering six types of uranium compounds according to their nature (natural and reprocessed uranium [RPU] and solubility [fast-F, moderate-M, and slow-S]). Exposure-effect analyses were performed for causes of death known to be related to external radiation exposure (all cancers and circulatory system diseases) and cancer of uranium target-organs (lung and hematopoietic and lymphatic tissues, HLT). A significant deficit of mortality from all causes (SMR=0.58; CI95 % [0.53-0.63]), all cancers (SMR=0.72; CI95 % [0.63-0.82]) and smoking related cancers was observed. Non-significant 30 %-higher increase of mortality was observed for cancer of pleura (SMR=2.32; CI95 % [0.75-5.41]), rectum and HLT, notably non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SMR=1.38; CI95 % [0.63-2.61]) and chronic lymphoid leukemia (SMR=2.36; CI95 % [0.64-6.03]). No exposure-effect relationship was found with external radiation cumulative dose. A significant exposure-effect relationship was observed for slowly soluble uranium, particularly RPU, which was associated with an increase in mortality risk reaching 8 to 16 % per unit of cumulative exposure score and 10 to 15 % per year of exposure duration. The Areva-NC-Pierrelatte workers cohort presents a non-significant over-mortality from HLT cancers, notably of lymphoid origin, unrelated to external radiation exposure. The pilot study suggests an association between mortality from the HLT and lung cancers and exposure to slowly soluble RPU compounds. The results of this study should be investigated further in more powerful studies, with a dose-response analysis based on individual assessment of uranium absorbed dose to uranium-target organs. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract This article discusses the availability and completeness of medical data on workers from the AREVA NC Pierrelatte nuclear plant and their possible use in epidemiological research on cardiovascular and metabolic disorders related to internal exposure to uranium. We created a computer database from files on 394 eligible workers included in an ongoing nested case-control study from a larger cohort of 2897 French nuclear workers. For each worker, we collected records of previous employment, job positions, job descriptions, medical visits, and blood test results from medical history. The dataset counts 9,471 medical examinations and 12,735 blood test results. For almost all of the parameters relevant for research on cardiovascular risk, data completeness and availability is over 90 %, but it varies with time and improves in the latest time period. In the absence of biobanks, collecting and computerising available good-quality occupational medicine archive data constitutes a valuable alternative for epidemiological and aetiological research in occupational health. Biobanks rarely contain biological samples over an entire worker's carrier and medical data from nuclear industry archives might make up for unavailable biomarkers that could provide information on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.
    Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology 12/2014; 65(4):407-16. DOI:10.2478/10004-1254-65-2014-2465 · 0.73 Impact Factor