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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Radiation in Marrow Transplants Can Trigger Cancer, Study Finds

March 27, 1997|From Times staff and wire reports

Bone marrow transplants for curing cancer can lead to cancer many years later, according to a study in the March 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bone marrow transplants can often cure leukemia and other blood cancers. However, in some patients radiation that is a crucial part of marrow transplants appears to trigger the growth of other cancers that emerge years later.

The latest study, by Rachelle E. Curtis and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute, followed about 20,000 people who received bone marrow transplants between 1964 and 1992. The study found that 80 patients developed new cases of non-blood tumors, while 30 would have been expected. The risk rose as time went by and was eight times higher than expected 10 years after the transplants.

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