The german thorotrast study: recent results and assessment of risks

Radiat Res. 1999 Dec;152(6 Suppl):S64-71.


The German Thorotrast study comprises 2,326 patients and 1,890 controls. Forty-eight Thorotrast patients and 239 controls are still alive and are invited for a follow-up examination every 2 years. In the deceased patients, the following neoplastic diseases with excess rates were registered (Thorotrast/controls): liver cancer (454/3); cancer of the bile ducts, including gallbladder (42/7); myeloid leukemia (40/7); myelodysplastic syndrome (30/4); plasmacytoma (10/2); non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (15/5); bone sarcoma (4/1); malignant peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma (9/0). Dose calculations are based on results of whole-body counting, X-ray films, and data obtained from the hospital records on the volume of Thorotrast injected. For liver cancer, the cumulative risk estimate was calculated to be 40 per 10(4) person Sv (radiation weighting factor = 20). These figures are close to the results of the Danish study and are comparable to the results of the Life Span Study of A-bomb survivors after 40 years at risk with 18 to 48 liver cancers per 10(4) person Sv. For hematopoietic malignancies, the cumulative risk was calculated to be about 7 per 10(4) person Sv (radiation weighting factor = 20). This risk estimate is lower by a factor of 10 compared to the results of the Life Span Study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Liver Neoplasms / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Thorium Dioxide / adverse effects*


  • Thorium Dioxide