A binational panel of Japanese and American pulmonary pathologists reviewed tissue slides of lung cancer cases diagnosed among Japanese A-bomb survivors and American uranium miners and classified the cases according to histological subtype. Blind reviews were completed on slides from 92 uranium miners and 108 A-bomb survivors, without knowledge of population, sex, age, smoking history, or level of radiation exposure. Consensus diagnoses were obtained with respect to principal subtype, including squamous-cell cancer, small-cell cancer, adenocarcinoma, and less frequent subtypes. The results were analyzed in terms of population, radiation dose, and smoking history. As expected, the proportion of squamous-cell cancer was positively related to smoking history in both populations. The relative frequencies of small-cell cancer and adenocarcinoma were very different in the two populations, but this difference was accounted for adequately by differences in radiation dose or, more specifically, dose-based relative risk estimates based on published data. Radiation-induced cancers appeared more likely to be of the small-cell subtype, and less likely to be adenocarcinomas, in both populations. The data appeared to require no additional explanation in terms of radiation quality (α particles vs γ rays), uniform or local irradiation, inhaled vs external radiation source, or other population difference.

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