What is the role of radiation exposure in the etiology of pediatric acute myelocytic leukemia (AML)?

Updated: Sep 12, 2017
  • Author: Mark E Weinblatt, MD; Chief Editor: Jennifer Reikes Willert, MD  more...
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Answer

A great deal of evidence has implicated radiation in leukemogenesis in many patients, as evidenced in Japan after the atomic explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although young children had the high risk of developing ALL, teens and adults were most likely to contract acute myeloid leukemia. Most of the leukemias arose within the first 5 years after exposure, although some developed as much as 15 years after exposure.

Reports of increased risk of leukemia among patients who live near nuclear plants are under investigation, but data are lacking. Likewise, early reports that exposure to strong electromagnetic fields is a risk factor for acute leukemia have not been corroborated.


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