Beagle dogs that were part of a life span study of the effects of low-level ionizing radiation during development were evaluated for the incidence of skin neoplasia and solar dermatosis. A total of 991 dogs up to 14 years of age were examined. The dogs were housed in gravel-based, outdoor pens with doghouses in a high-altitude, high-sunshine level environment. Solar dermatosis was restricted to the sparsely haired, nonpigmented abdominal skin. Skin neoplasms were either removed surgically or found at necropsy. Solar dermatosis was diagnosed in 363 of the 991 dogs, an incidence of 36.6%. There were 175 hemangiomas, hemangiosarcomas, or squamous cell carcinomas of the skin in the 991 dogs. Of these, 129 tumors occurred in dogs with, and only 46 in dogs without, solar dermatosis. Of the dogs with solar dermatosis, 93 (26%) had at least one of the three tumor types, compared to only 44 (7%) of dogs without solar dermatosis. Thirty-two dogs had multiple tumor types and solar dermatosis, compared to only two dogs with multiple tumor types and no solar dermatosis. There was a highly significant correlation (P < 0.001) between the occurrence of these tumor types and solar dermatosis in the unpigmented abdominal skin. This correlation was strongest for the malignant neoplasms. Whole-body γ-radiation exposures were delivered at one of three prenatal or three postnatal ages up to 1 year of age. There appeared to be an increased risk for hemangiosarcomas and squamous cell carcinomas in dogs with solar dermatosis and given γ-ray exposures at 1 year of age. This suggests an interaction between exposures to ionizing and ultraviolet radiation.

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