Exposure to low-dose radiation and the risk of breast cancer among women with a familial or genetic predisposition: a meta-analysis

Marijke C. Jansen-van der Weide*, Marcel J. W. Greuter, Liesbeth Jansen, Jan C. Oosterwijk, Ruud M. Pijnappel, Geertruida H. de Bock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Women with familial or genetic aggregation of breast cancer are offered screening outside the population screening programme. However, the possible benefit of mammography screening could be reduced due to the risk of radiation-induced tumours. A systematic search was conducted addressing the question of how low-dose radiation exposure affects breast cancer risk among high-risk women.

A systematic search was conducted for articles addressing breast cancer, mammography screening, radiation and high-risk women. Effects of low-dose radiation on breast cancer risk were presented in terms of pooled odds ratios (OR).

Of 127 articles found, 7 were selected for the meta-analysis. Pooled OR revealed an increased risk of breast cancer among high-risk women due to low-dose radiation exposure (OR = 1.3, 95% CI: 0.9- 1.8). Exposure before age 20 (OR = 2.0, 95% CI: 1.3-3.1) or a mean of a parts per thousand yen5 exposures (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1-3.0) was significantly associated with a higher radiation-induced breast cancer risk.

Low-dose radiation increases breast cancer risk among high-risk women. When using low-dose radiation among high-risk women, a careful approach is needed, by means of reducing repeated exposure, avoidance of exposure at a younger age and using non-ionising screening techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2547-2556
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2010


  • Breast cancer
  • BRCA1/2
  • Family history
  • Low-dose radiation
  • Radiation effects
  • Screening
  • AGE 50 YEARS
  • X-RAYS
  • BRCA1

Cite this