Health Risk Assessment Due to Effects of Radiation Exposure

The RPI implements dosimetric and statistical support of different studies relating to health effects from radiation exposure as a result of the Chornobyl accident. The RPI is a member of the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative (MELODI). In the last several years the RPI has gotten involved and is taking part in the following projects:

  • EU Contract 211712 “CTB-The Chornobyl Tissue Bank-Coordinating International Research on Radiation Induced Thyroid Cancer”, 2009–present.

The CTB includes material from all patients with thyroid carcinomas and cellular follicular adenomas from the contaminated regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation who were born after 26th April 1967 and were operated after 1998. The purpose of the project is to ensure that specimens of thyroid cancer are properly described and sampled, and that materials (frozen tissue, fixed tissue sections, extracted DNA/RNA and blood samples), are available for appropriate research studies. At present doses for more than 3,000 samples have been calculated by RPI specialists and provided to the V.P. Komisarenko Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ukraine and Coordinating Centre at Imperial College, London together with the data about patients. The study is supported by the EC, the WHO, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation of Japan (SMHF).

Likhtarov I., Thomas G., Kovgan L., Masiuk S., Chepurny M., et al. (2013). Reconstruction of individual thyroid doses to the Ukrainian subjects enrolled in the Chernobyl Tissue Bank. Radiat. Prot. Dosimetry. 156, 407-423.

M.D. Tronko, T.I. Bogdanova, V. Saenko, T.L. Thomas, I. Likhtarov, S. Yamashita (eds.) (2014). Different level of thyroid dose individualisation of the Ukrainian donors in Chernobyl tissue bank. In Thyroid cancer in Ukraine after Chernobyl: dosimetry, epidemiology, pathology, molecular biology.  Japan: Nagasaki Association for Hibakushas’ Medical Care, 176 p.

  • Gene-Rad-Interact Project “Gene-Radiation Interaction: Their Influence On Pre-Menopausal Breast Cancer Risk After Chornobyl”, 2002–present

An ecological study has been conducted to describe the spatial and temporal trends in breast cancer incidence in the most contaminated regions of Belarus and Ukraine and to evaluate to what extent the increases seen since 1986 are related to radiation exposure from the Chornobyl accident. During the period 1997–2001, in the most contaminated districts (average cumulative dose of 40.0 mSv or more) compared with the least contaminated districts relative risks were calculated as: 2.24 (95% CI: 1.51–3.32) in Belarus and 1.78 (95% CI: 1.08–2.93) in Ukraine. The study was resumed in 2017 on a voluntary basis. The study has been conducting together with IARC of WHO, Republican Cancer Registry of Belarus and Ukrainian Cancer Registry.

Pukkala E., Kesminiene A., Poliakov S., Ryzhov A., Drozdovitch V., Kovgan L., Kyyronen P., Malakhova V., Gulak L., Cardis E. (2006). Breast cancer in Belarus and Ukraine after the Chernobyl accident. Int. J. Cancer.  119(3), 651-658.

  • Ukrainian-American Scientific Project “Study of Cancer and other Thyroid Diseases in Ukraine as a Consequence of the Chornobyl Accident”, 1996–present

А cohort study of children and adolescents exposed to Chornobyl fallout in Ukraine was initiated to better understand the long-term health effects of exposure to radioactive iodines. All 13,204 cohort members were subjected to at least one direct thyroid measurement between 30 April and 30 June 1986 and resided at the time of the accident in the most radioactively contaminated territories of Kyiv, Zhytomyr, or Chornihiv regions of Ukraine. RPI specialists took part in thyroid doses reconstruction for cohort members and in dose-responsible analysis. The thyroid doses range from 0.35 mGy to 42 Gy, with 95% of the doses between 1 mGy and 4.2 Gy, an arithmetic mean of 0.65 Gy, and a geometric mean of 0.19 Gy. The study has been conducted together with National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine of Ukraine, Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants of Ukraine, National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), V.P. Komisarenko Institute of Endocrinology and Metabolism of Ukraine.

Likhtarov I., Kovgan L., Masiuk S., et al. (2014). Thyroid cancer study among Ukrainian children exposed to radiation after the Chornobyl accident: improved estimates of the thyroid doses to the cohort members. Health Phys. 106(3), 370-396.

Little M., Kukush A., Masiuk S. Impact of Uncertainties in Exposure Assessment on Estimates of Thyroid Cancer Risk among Ukrainian Children and Adolescents Exposed from the Chernobyl Accident (2014). PloS one. 9(1), 1−9.