Aetiology of acute leukaemia

Lancet. 1997 Feb 1;349(9048):344-9. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(96)09412-3.


Ionising radiation, in high dose and with acute exposure, is a factor that has been implicated in leukaemogenesis, but what is the evidence for leukaemogenesis and exposure to diagnostic X-rays, to natural terrestrial or cosmic ionising radiation, to electromagnetic fields, or to nuclear energy? Why is population mixing and infection a possible explanation for the clusters of childhood acute leukaemias around the nuclear processing plants of Sellafield and Dounreay? These questions, as well as how chemical agents, including therapeutic substances, might contribute to leukaemogenesis, are discussed in this last article in the leukaemia series.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications
  • Leukemia / etiology*
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology
  • Nuclear Warfare
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / etiology
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Radiography / adverse effects