National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine
State Institution "The National Research Center for Radiation Medicine"

ISSN 2313-4607 (Online)
ISSN 2304-8336 (Print)

Problems of Radiation Medicine and Radiobiology



V. Drozdovitch1, V. V. Yauseyenka2, V. F. Minenko3, I. V. Veyalkin2, T. S. Kukhta4, R. I. Grakovitch2,
S. Trofimik3, O. N. Polyanskaya2,a, L. Starastsenka2, E.K. Cahoon1, M. Hatch1,b, M. P. Little1,
A.V. Brenner1,5, E. Ostroumova1,6, K. Mabuchi1, A.V. Rozhko2

1 Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-9778, USA
2 Republican Research Center for Radiation Medicine and Human Ecology, 290 Ilyicha Street, Gomel, 246040, Belarus
3 Institute for Nuclear Problems, Belarusian State University, 11 Bobruiskaya Street, Minsk, 220006, Belarus
4 Joint Institute of Informatics Problems, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, 6 Surhanava Street, Minsk, 220012, Belarus
5 Department of Epidemiology, Radiation Effects Research Foundation, 5-2 Hijiyama Park, Minami-ku, Hiroshima City, 732-0815, Japan
6 International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon CEDEX 08, France


Objective. To describe the status and results of thyroid disease screening and assessment of reliability of radiation thyroid doses in the Belarusian in utero cohort of 2,965 individuals exposed to Chernobyl (Chornobyl) fallout.
Materials and methods. Thyroid screening examinations are currently underway including thyroid palpation by an endocrinologist, ultrasonographic examination by an ultrasonographer and analysis of blood samples for diagnosis of hypo- and hyperthyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis, thyroid function tests (thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH], thyroxine [T4], thyroid peroxidase antibody [anti-TPO], and thyroglobulin antibodies [anti-TG]). Reliability of (i) information from 780 pairs of questionnaires obtained during the first and second interviews of the mothers and (ii) thyroid doses, which were calculated for the cohort members using this information, is evaluated.
Results. As of 15 August 2021, 1,267 in utero exposed study subjects had been screened. A single thyroid nodule was diagnosed in 167 persons (13.2 % of the total) and multiple thyroid nodules in 101 persons (8.0 %): 189 (14.9 %) persons had nodules detected for the first time at the screening while 79 (6.2 %) persons had nodules detected previously (pre-screening nodules). Fifty-nine out of 268 subjects (22.0 %) with a suspicious thyroid nodule were referred to fine needle aspiration biopsy, and among them 33 (55.9 %) were biopsied. Reasonable agreement was observed for model-based doses calculated for the Belarusian in utero cohort members using data from the two interviews (Spearmans rank-correlation coefficient rs = 0.74, p < 0.001), while measurement-based doses yielded almost perfect agreement (rs = 0.99, p < 0.001).
Conclusions. During the thyroid screening, at least one thyroid nodule was identified in 268 of 1,267 (21.2 %) in utero exposed cohort members. Seven thyroid cancer cases were identified in the cohort, including 5 pre-screening cases and 2 cases detected during the screening. Ongoing research on this unique cohort will provide important information on adverse health effects following prenatal and postnatal exposure to radioiodine and radiocesium isotopes, for which available epidemiological data are scant.
Key words: Chernobyl, Chornobyl, exposure, in utero, early life, thyroid cancer, reliability.

Problems of Radiation Medicine and Radiobiology.
2021;26:188-198. doi: 10.33145/2304-8336-2021-26-188-198

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