Lung cancer mortality (1950–1999) among Eldorado uranium workers: A comparison of the TSCE and ERR models

Abstract of the journal article published in PLoS ONE (August 2012)

M. Eidemüller, P. Jacob, R. Lane (CNSC), S.E. Frost and L. Zablotska


Lung cancer mortality after exposure to radon decay products (RDP) among 16,236 male Eldorado uranium workers was analyzed. Male workers from the Beaverlodge and Port Radium uranium mines and the Port Hope radium and uranium refinery and processing facility who were first employed between 1932 and 1980 were followed up from 1950 to 1999. A total of 618 lung cancer deaths were observed.

The analysis compared the results of the biologically based two-stage clonal expansion (TSCE) model to the empirical excess risk model. The spontaneous clonal expansion rate of pre-malignant cells was reduced at older ages under the assumptions of the TSCE model. Exposure to RDP was associated with increase in the clonal expansion rate during exposure but not afterwards. The increase was stronger for lower exposure rates. A radiation-induced bystander effect could be a possible explanation for such an exposure response. Results on excess risks were compared to a linear dose-response parametric excess risk model with attained age, time since exposure, and dose rate as effect modifiers. In all models the excess relative risk decreased with increasing attained age, increasing time since exposure and increasing exposure rate. Large model uncertainties were found in particular for small exposure rates.

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