Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Incidence and Chronic Occupational Radiation Exposure
Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Research published in Radiation and Environmental Biophysics suggests that a relationship may exist between chronic occupational exposure to ionizing radiation and basal cell carcinoma incidence. Valentina L. Rybkina, MD, of the Southern Urals Biophysics Institute in Russia, and colleagues did not identify an association between exposure to such radiation and squamous cell carcinoma incidence.
The study included every worker (n = 22,377) at the Mayak Production Association, a Russian nuclear facility, who had been hired between 1948 and 1982. A quarter of the participants were women. Data cutoff was December 31, 2018. The investigators used a software program to determine the approximate relative risk and excess relative risk per unit of skin-absorbed dose of external exposure. The mean cumulative skin absorbed doses of external gamma-ray exposure and neutron exposure were 0.50 ± 0.73 Gy and .002 ± .004 Gy, respectively.
Among all non-melanoma skin cancers identified in study participants, 295 (84.8%) were basal cell carcinoma, 48 (13.8%) were squamous cell carcinoma, and 5 (1.4%) were skin appendage cell carcinomas. The incidence of basal cell carcinoma had a significant linear association with the cumulative skin-absorbed dose of external gamma-ray exposure (excess relative risk/Gy = 0.57). A slight risk reduction occurred when adjusted for neutron dose (excess relative risk/Gy = 0.55). Regardless of neutron dose adjustment, no meaningful association was noted regarding squamous cell carcinoma incidence (excess relative risk/Gy = 0.14).
Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.