Exposure to Medical Radiation during Fetal Life, Childhood and Adolescence and Risk of Brain Tumor in Young Age: Results from The MOBI-Kids Case-Control Study

Neuroepidemiology. 2020;54(4):343-355. doi: 10.1159/000506131. Epub 2020 Mar 20.


Background: We explored the association between ionizing radiation (IR) from pre-natal and post-natal radio-diagnostic procedures and brain cancer risk within the MOBI-kids study.

Methods: MOBI-kids is an international (Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, The Netherlands) case-control study including 899 brain tumor (645 neuroepithelial) cases aged 10-24 years and 1,910 sex-, age-, country-matched controls. Medical radiological history was collected through personal interview. We estimated brain IR dose for each procedure, building a look-up table by age and time period. Lifetime cumulative doses were calculated using 2 and 5 years lags from the diagnostic date. Risk was estimated using conditional logistic regression. Neurological, psychological and genetic conditions were evaluated as potential confounders. The main analyses focused on neuroepithelial tumors.

Results: Overall, doses were very low, with a skewed distribution (median 0.02 mGy, maximum 217 mGy). ORs for post-natal exposure were generally below 1. ORs were increased in the highest dose categories both for post and pre-natal exposures: 1.63 (95% CI 0.44-6.00) and 1.55 (0.57-4.23), respectively, based on very small numbers of cases. The change in risk estimates after adjustment for medical conditions was modest.

Conclusions: There was little evidence for an association between IR from radio-diagnostic procedures and brain tumor risk in children and adolescents. Though doses were very low, our results suggest a higher risk for pre-natal and early life exposure, in line with current evidence.

Keywords: Brain cancer; Children-adolescent health; Environmental exposure; Epidemiology studies; Medical radiation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiography / adverse effects
  • Radiography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult

Grant support