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Germline Genetic Variation and Risk of Chromosome Aberrations Among Mayak Nuclear Workers

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Radiation Exposure

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Trial Information

Germline Genetic Variation and Risk of Chromosome Aberrations Among Mayak Nuclear Workers

Greater understanding of the role of individual variation in response to radiation exposure
might clarify the inconsistent relationship between radiation dose, intermediate markers of
induced DNA damage, and subsequent cancer risk. REB proposes to collaborate with Columbia
University and the Southern Urals Biophysics Institute to elucidate the contribution of
germline genetic variation to the frequency of chromosomal aberrations in a cohort of
Russian nuclear workers with notable and atypical radiation exposures. Our collaborators
are utilizing a new biodosimetry method, termed mBAND, to measure intra-chromosomal
aberrations, a potentially useful biomarker of exposure to high linear energy transfer
radiation such as plutonium. In addition, they will assess inter-chromosomal aberrations
using mFISH (multicolor fluorescent insitu hybridization). As factors other than radiation
dose may influence aberration frequency, REB proposes to add to this DOE-funded study an
investigation of germline genetic variation in DNA repair and other genes in relation to
aberration risk. Mayak nuclear workers (n = approximately 350) employed from 1948-72 will
receive a short questionnaire and have a blood sample drawn while receiving routine annual
medical exams. Germline genotype will be assessed as a risk factor for chromosome
aberration frequency. In this study, we have the opportunity to address scientific
questions regarding radiation carcinogenesis mechanisms at relatively little cost in a
population with rare, higher dose exposures.

Inclusion Criteria


Individuals eligible to be included in the 'exposed' population include all those employed
from 1948-1972 in the three plants directly related to nuclear-weapon production (nuclear
reactor, radiochemical production plant, plutonium production plant), who have remained
local residents, and who have estimates of their external gamma dose and internal
plutonium exposure.

Some eligible workers did not have any plutonium exposure, but are still eligible to be
included in the exposed sample due to their external radiation exposure.

All participants are required to be cancer-free at the time of enrollment.


Individuals who have a medical history of radiation therapy or a blood transfusion within
the previous year will be excluded.

As the sample size would not be adequate to examine their risk separately, Tartars and
Bashkirs will not be included in the study.


The comparison population will be drawn from current and former workers in the auxiliary
plants (water treatment facility and mechanical repair plant) at the Mayak facility.

Included will be a stratified random sample of these workers who were employed from
1948-1972, who have remained local residents, and who have estimates of their external
gamma dose.

Individuals selected will be frequency-matched according to age (5 year age groups) and
gender to the exposed worker population.

Type of Study:


Study Design:


Principal Investigator

Martha Linet, M.D.

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

National Cancer Institute (NCI)


United States: Federal Government

Study ID:




Start Date:

June 2004

Completion Date:

Related Keywords:

  • Radiation Exposure
  • Plutonium
  • Ionizing Radiation
  • Polymorphism
  • Biological Marker
  • Russia
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Chromosome Disorders