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September 24, 1960

Thorotrast and CarcinogenesisReport of a Case

JAMA. 1960;174(4):413-415. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030040019021a

Thorotrast (a colloidal suspension of thorium dioxide) was introduced to the radiological armamentarium in 19281 and rapidly achieved widespread popularity as a contrast medium for cerebral angiography, hepatolienography, myelography, and salpingography. Since that time the accumulation of cases of malignant disease, fibroses of vital structures, and anemias which might be attributed to thorium dioxide has virtually prohibited its use, although doubts have been raised concerning the mechanism of their causation. This literature has been recently reviewed by Looney.2

Although the majority of carcinomas that occur after administration of thorium dioxide suspension are found in the liver,2 local tumor induction has also been reported in man3 and animals.4 This induction is well illustrated by the following case.

A 48-year-old Portuguese woman underwent salpingography as part of a sterility investigation in 1938. Presumably a colloidal suspension of thorium dioxide was the radiopaque agent employed. Apparently at least

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