This study set out to investigate chromosomal damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes of thyroid cancer patients receiving 131I for thyroid remnant ablation or treatment of metastatic disease. The observed chromosomal damage was further converted to the estimates of whole-body dose to project the adverse side effects. Chromosomal aberration analysis was performed in 24 patients treated for the first time or after multiple courses. Blood samples were collected before treatment and 3 or 4 days after administration of 2-4 GBq of 131I. Both conventional cytogenetic and chromosome 2, 4 and 12 painting assays were used. To account for dose-rate effect, a dose-protraction factor was applied to calculate the whole-body dose. The mean dose was 0.62 Gy (95% CI: 0.44-0.77 Gy) in the subgroup of patients treated one time and 0.67 Gy (95% CI: 0.03-1.00 Gy) in re-treated patients. These dose estimates are about 1.7-fold higher than those disregarding the effect of exposure duration. In re-treated patients, the neglected dose-rate effect can result in underestimation of the cumulative whole-body dose by the factor ranging from 2.6 to 6.8. Elevated frequency of chromosomal aberrations observed in re-treated patients before radioiodine therapy allows estimation of a cumulative dose received from all previous treatments.
Keywords: Biological dosimetry; Chromosomal aberrations; Dose-rate effect; Radioiodine therapy; Thyroid cancer.