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Chumak, Vadim V.; Klymenko, Sergiy V.; Zitzelsberger, Horst; Wilke, Christina; Rybchenko, Lyudmila A.; Bakhanova, Elena V. (2018): Doses of Ukrainian female clean-up workers with diagnosed breast cancer. In: Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, Vol. 57, No. 2: pp. 163-168
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The Chernobyl reactor accident in 1986 has caused significant exposure to ionizing radiation of the Ukrainian population, in particular clean-up workers and evacuees from the exclusion zones. A study aiming at the discovery of radiation markers of the breast cancer was conducted from 2008 to 2015 within a collaborative project by HZM, LMU, and NRCRM. In this study, post-Chernobyl breast cancer cases both in radiation-exposed female patients diagnosed at age less than 60 from 1992 to 2014 and in non-exposed controls matched for residency, tumor type, age at diagnosis, TNM classification as well as tumor grading were investigated for molecular changes with special emphasis to copy number alterations and miRNA profiles. Cancer registry and clinical archive data were used to identify 435 breast cancer patients among female clean-up workers and 14 among evacuees from highly contaminated territories as candidates for the study. Of these, 129 breast cancer patients fit study inclusion criteria and were traced for individual reconstruction of the target organ (breast) doses. The doses were estimated for 71 exposed cases (clean-up workers and evacuees from which biomaterial was available for molecular studies and who agreed to participate in a dosimetric interview) by the use of the well-established RADRUE method, which was adjusted specifically for the assessment of breast doses. The results of 58 female clean-up workers showed a large inter-individual variability of doses in a range of about five orders of magnitude: from 0.03 to 929 mGy, with median of 5.8 mGy. The study provides the first quantitative estimate of exposures received by female clean-up workers, which represent a limited but very important group of population affected by the Chernobyl accident. The doses of 13 women evacuated after the accident who did not take part in the clean-up activities (from 4 to 45 mGy with median of 19 mGy) are in line with the previous estimates for the evacuees from Pripyat and the 30-km zone.