Intracranial tumors after exposure to ionizing radiation during infancy: a pooled analysis of two Swedish cohorts of 28,008 infants with skin hemangioma

Radiat Res. 1998 Sep;150(3):357-64.


The risk of intracranial tumors after exposure to ionizing radiation during infancy has been studied in a pooled analysis of two Swedish hemangioma cohorts (n = 28,008). The mean absorbed intracranial dose was low (7 cGy, range 0-11.5 Gy). The cohorts were followed up in the Swedish Cancer Register for incident intracranial tumors during the period 1958-1993. Eighty-eight tumors were found in 86 individuals compared to 60.72 expected [standardized incidence ratio (SIR) 1.42, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13-1.75]. The SIR increased significantly in ascending dose categories (P = 0.02). Dose-response analyses were performed with Poisson regression methods. There was a significant effect of dose, and the dose-effect relationship was negatively modified by age at first treatment. This indicates a higher risk for those exposed earlier in life. A linear dose-response model modified by age at first treatment resulted in the best fit. The excess relative risk (ERR) was 2.7/Gy (95% CI 1.0-5.6). The ERR/Gy was 4.5 if the treatment was given before 5 months of age, 1.5 if it was given at 5-7 months and 0.4 if it was given later. The study thus strongly indicates that there exists a dose-response relationship between absorbed dose in the brain and the subsequent risk of developing an intracranial tumor and that the risk is higher among infants exposed at younger ages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Hemangioma / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Sweden / epidemiology