Nine Brain-Cancer Cases Reported in Interventionalists

Reed Miller

February 23, 2012

February 23, 2012 (Haifa, Israel) — Researchers in Israel and France have found a few cases that suggest interventional cardiologists and radiologists may be at risk for left-side brain tumors [1].

In the January 2012 issue of Eurointervention, Dr Ariel Roguin (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel) and colleagues publish the summary of nine reports of brain tumors in people working in catheterization laboratories for 14 to 32 years, including four cases not previously reported in the literature.

In two cases in Haifa, Israel and two in Paris, the tumor was confirmed to be on the left side. In two cases in Toronto from 1998, the side of the tumor was not originally reported, but Roguin told heartwire that he recently confirmed they were on the left side. In three cases in Sweden, the side of the tumor is unknown. The types of tumor reported include glioblastomas, meningiomas, acoustic neurinomas, and oligodendromas.

As reported by heartwire , existing evidence suggests that chronic exposure to low-dose radiation such as that used in interventional cardiology can cause damage to somatic DNA that may be cumulative over time and increase the risk of cancer. Roguin et al point out that interventional cardiologists have the highest radiation exposure among health professionals, and existing radiation shield devices for physicians do not usually provide much protection for the head.

"Solid evidence-based medicine in this field is lacking, [and] the cases reported in this paper could all be a simple matter of chance without any relationship to occupational exposure," Roguin and colleagues caution. "Still, it is reasonable to assume that ionizing radiation does not improve health!"

The authors hope publication of this paper will prompt physicians around the world to contact them with any information they may have on the diagnosis of brain tumors in interventional cardiologists. "We need the community to respond," Roguin said. "Then we will know the real numbers."


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