Incidence of female breast cancer among atomic bomb survivors, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1950-1990

Radiat Res. 2003 Dec;160(6):707-17. doi: 10.1667/rr3082.


An incidence survey of the Life Span Study (LSS) population found 1093 breast cancers among 1059 breast cancer cases diagnosed during 1950-1990. As in earlier breast cancer surveys of this population, a linear and statistically highly significant radiation dose response was found. In the analysis, particular attention was paid to modification of radiation dose response by age at exposure (e) and attained age (a). Dose-specific excess relative risk (ERR(1Sv)) decreased with increasing values of e and a. A linear dose-response model analysis, with e and a as exponential age modifiers, did not conclusively discriminate between the two variables as modifiers of dose response. A modified isotonic regression approach, requiring only that ERR(1Sv) be monotonic in age, provides a fresh perspective indicating that both e and a are important modifiers of dose response. Exposure before age 20 was associated with higher ERR(1Sv) compared to exposure at older ages, with no evidence of consistent variation by exposure age for ages under 20. ERR(1Sv) was observed to decline with increasing attained age, with by far the largest drop around age 35. Possible explanations for these observations are discussed, along with research approaches that might provide more information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Nuclear Warfare*
  • Time Factors