Author(s): de Vathaire F, Schlumberger M, Delisle MJ, Francese C
We studied 1771 patients treated for a thyroid cancer in two institutions. None of these patients had been treated with external radiotherapy and 1497 had received (131)I. The average (131)I cumulative activity administered was 7.2 GBq, and the estimated average dose was 0.34 Sv to the bone marrow and 0.80 Sv to the whole body. After a mean follow-up of 10 years, no case of leukaemia was observed, compared with 2.5 expected according to the coefficients derived from Japanese atomic bomb survivors (P = 0.1). A total of 80 patients developed a solid second malignant neoplasm (SMN), among whom 13 developed a colorectal cancer. The risk of colorectal cancer was found to be related to the total activity of (131)I administered 5 years or more before its diagnosis (excess relative risk = 0.5 per GBq, P = 0.02). These findings were probably caused by the accumulation of (131)I in the colon lumen. Hence, in the absence of laxative treatment, the dose to the colon as a result of (131)I administered for the treatment of thyroid cancer could be higher than expected from calculation of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). When digestive tract cancers were excluded, the overall excess relative risk of second cancer per estimated effective sievert received to the whole body was -0.2 (P = 0.6).