January 1960

Leukemia Following X-Ray Therapy for Ankylosing Spondylitis

Author Affiliations

Toronto, Canada

From the Dept. of Medicine, University of Toronto, St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital, Dept. of Veterans' Affairs.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1960;105(1):51-59. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.00270130067008

There is now clear evidence that x-rays and other forms of ionizing radiation may act as potential leukemogenic agents to humans. This evidence, which has accumulated gradually over the past fifty years, has been derived mainly from the following material:

  • Sporadic case reports of leukemia occurring in individuals exposed to prolonged and repeated radiation, the exposure being of an occupational nature in almost all instances.1-16

  • Reports of a leukemia mortality rate among American radiologists nine to ten times as great as that of nonradiologist physicians,17-19 who in turn exhibit a leukemia incidence significantly higher than the population at large.16,20,21

  • The increased frequency of leukemia in individuals who had received x-ray therapy in infancy for thymus enlargement, as compared with that in their nonradiated siblings.22,23

  • The occurrence of leukemia in patients treated with repeated doses of radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer.24,25

  • The frequency of leukemia in children of mothers subjected to

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