Post-Chernobyl incidence of papillary thyroid cancer among Belgian children less than 15 years of age in April 1986: a 30-year surgical experience

Sat, 23/04/2016 - 13:20 — Luc Michel
 ABSTRACT
Objective: We raised the question of a possible relationship in Belgium between the occurrence
of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and age of children (<15 years) at the time of the
Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in April 1986.
Setting: Referral university centre for endocrine surgery.
Material and methods: Thirty-year prospective study of the experience of a surgical team
with PTC since the Chernobyl accident, taken out of 2349 patients operated on for any thyroid
lesions from April 1986 to April 2015, comparing the incidence of PTC by age groups.
Main outcome measurement: Comparison of PTC incidence in patients >15 years (group A)
and children <15 years (group B) in April 1986.
Results: Out of a total of 2349 patients having undergone thyroid surgery for all types of
lesions during 30 year after Chernobyl and born before April 1986, 2164 were >15 years of
age at the time of the nuclear accident (group A) and 175 developed PTC (8.1%) compared to
36 PTC (19.5%) that occurred in 185 children <15 years of age (group B) in April 1986
(p<0.001).
Conclusions: Radiation exposure affected residents of countries (including Belgium) well
beyond Ukraine and Belarus. This was demonstrated by a 1990 meteorological report. Over
30 years, there has been a persistent higher incidence of PTC among Belgian children below
the age of 15 years at the time of the Chernobyl accident. This relationship with age has
even been strengthened by the implementation of more sophisticated immunohistochemical
biomarkers diagnostic technology since April 2011.

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