Fingerprint of radiation exposure discovered in thyroid cancer

Chernobyl accident continues to provide scientists with unique opportunities for research. One of the major health impacts identified in the victims of  Chernobyl accident is the greater incidence of  over  6,000 thyroid cancers. Thyroid cancer is curable. Fifteen of those cancer patients died. Thyroid tissues of the radio-iodine exposed cancer patients are preserved.

That radiation exposure at high levels will cause cancer in some of the exposed individuals is an accepted fact. At low doses the cancer-inducing evidence of radiation is not undoubtedly proved. Also, currently there is no way to find out whether a particular cancer is due to radiation or not. This may change, if the recent findings on chromosome 7 from the thyroid tissues of cancer patients prove to be true.

The number of copies of a small fragment of chromosome 7 was found to be increased only in the tumours from the irradiated children, establishing this as one of the first genetic markers that indicate a radiation aetiology of cancer.  The results of the study are published in one of the the forthcoming issues of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). A news story on the study can be accessed at the following url:

We know that the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), Japan has set up a tissue bank to preserve samples of tissues of A-bomb survivors. It will be very interesting to see whether such gene markers could be identified  in cancer patients from among the A-bomb survivors


About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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One Response to Fingerprint of radiation exposure discovered in thyroid cancer

  1. Ashok Shah says:

    Respected Sir,
    Article is interesting. Please write the Cell for genetic markers are being collected from irradiated site or from the blood. Is there any effect of time after irradiation?
    Thank you.


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