Disproportionate reports of left-sided brain tumors in interventional physicians with sustained practices involving radiation may suggest a causal relation to occupational radiation exposure, according to study data published in the American Journal of Cardiology.
Following up on their report of nine recent cases of brain cancer in interventional cardiologists, researchers received 22 more cases from around the world.
Researchers tracked the physicians’ ages, sex, tumor types, sides involved, specialties (cardiologist vs. radiologist) and number of years in practice, based on medical records and interviews with the physicians’ patients or family.
There were 23 interventional cardiologists, two electrophysiologists and six interventional radiologists, all of whom had worked in an interventional practice with exposure to radiation. For the 26 whom career duration was known, the latency period spanned from 12 years to 32 years (mean, 23.5 ± 5.9).
There were 17 cases (55%) of glioblastoma multiforme, five meningiomas (16%) and two astrocytomas (7%). Data were available regarding the side of the brain involved in 26 operators: 22 were left-sided (85%), three right-sided and one midline in an interventional cardiologist who had performed most cases using the Sones technique, in which the head is typically centered closest to the X-ray source.
According to Ariel Roguin, MD, PhD, study investigator with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, since the publication of the paper, there has been an additional report of a left-sided astrocytoma in a 52-year-old pediatric electrophysiologist physician, making the total 32 cases.
“It is difficult to prove that the incidence of brain tumors is higher because of the ionizing radiation than in the general population. But the left-side involvement is statistically significant,” Roguin told Cardiology Today’s Intervention. “If we perform a Fisher’s exact test comparing the 22 left- vs. four non-left-sided cases to a normal expected distribution in the general population (50% for each side), then for a population of 26 subjects, the P value is .0176.”
Disclosure: Roguin reports no relevant financial disclosures.