To examine the radiogenic risk of latent thyroid cancer, thyroid adenoma, colloid/adenomatous goiter and chronic thyroiditis, the data for 3821 subjects collected in the course of autopsies of atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima from 1951 to 1985 by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) were analyzed using a logistic model. About 80% of the autopsies were performed at RERF and the remainder at local hospitals. The frequencies of the above diseases were not associated with whether the underlying cause of death was cancer. However, note that our results may be influenced by potentially biasing factors associated with autopsy selection. The relative frequency of latent thyroid cancer (greatest dimension ≤1.5 cm but detectable on a routine microscopic slide of the thyroid gland) increased as the radiation dose increased and was about 1.4-fold greater at 1 Gy than in the 0-Gy dose group. The relative occurrence of thyroid adenoma also increased as radiation dose increased, and was about 1.5-fold greater at 1 Gy than in the 0-Gy dose group. Sex, age at the time of the bombing or period of observation did not significantly modify the radiogenic risks for thyroid adenoma or latent thyroid cancer. No statistically significant association was found between radiation exposure and the rates of colloid/adenomatous goiter and chronic thyroiditis. The possible late effect of atomic bomb radiation on the frequency of benign thyroid diseases is discussed on the basis of these data.

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