Miller, S. C., Lloyd, R. D., Bruenger, F. W., Krahenbuhl, M. P. and Romanov, S. A. Comparisons of the Skeletal Locations of Putative Plutonium-Induced Osteosarcomas in Humans with those in Beagle Dogs and with Naturally Occurring Tumors in both Species. Radiat. Res. 160, 517–523 (2003).
Osteosarcomas occur from exposures to bone-seeking, α-particle-emitting isotopes, particularly plutonium. The skeletal distribution of putative 239Pu-induced osteosarcomas reported in Mayak Metallurgical and Radiochemical Plutonium Plant workers is compared with those observed in canine studies, and these are compared with distributions of naturally occurring osteosarcomas in both species. In the Mayak workers, 29% and 71% of the osteosarcomas were in the peripheral and central skeleton, respectively, with the spine having the most tumors (36%). An almost identical distribution of plutonium-induced osteosarcomas was reported for dogs injected with 239Pu as young adults. This distribution of osteosarcomas is quite different from the distributions of naturally occurring osteosarcomas for both species. In the Cooperative Osteosarcoma Study Group in humans (1,736 osteosarcomas from all ages), over 91% of the tumors occurred in the peripheral skeleton. In the Mayo Clinic group of older individuals (>40 years old), over 60% of the osteosarcomas appeared in the peripheral skeleton. The distribution of naturally occurring osteosarcomas in the canine is similar to that in the adult human. The similarities of the distributions of plutonium-associated osteosarcomas in the Mayak workers with those found in experimental studies suggest that many of the reported osteosarcomas may have been associated with plutonium exposures. These results also support the experimental paradigm that plutonium osteosarcomas have a preference for well vascularized cancellous bone sites. These sites have a greater initial deposition of plutonium, but also greater turnover due to elevated bone remodeling rates.