Posted on Apr 19, 2012, 6 a.m.
The most common artificial source of ionizing radiation, dental x-rays are linked to an increased risk of meningioma.
Ionizing radiation is a consistently identified and potentially modifiable risk factor for meningioma, a type of brain tumor accounting for 33% of all primary brain tumors. Dental x-rays are the most common artificial source of ionizing radiation. Elizabeth B. Claus, from Brigham & Women's Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues from Yale University (Connecticut, USA), Duke University (North Carolina, USA), University of California/San Francisco (California, USA), and Baylor College of Medicine (Texas, USA) studied data from 1433 patients diagnosed with meningioma, ages 20 to 79 years, comparing that information to control group with similar characteristics. The patients with meningioma were found to be twice as likely to have reported undergoing a bitewing exam - a common type of dental x-ray, with those who had the exam yearly or more frequently at 1.4 to 1.9 times more likely to develop a meningioma, as compared to controls.. Additionally, the team observed a marked increased risk with panorex x-ray: those who reported undergoing this exam under the age of 10 years were 4.9 times more likely to develop a meningioma, and those who had the exam yearly or more frequently were nearly 3 times as likely to develop a meningioma, as compared to controls. Noting that: "Exposure to some dental x-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than in the current era, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma.,” The study authors urge that: "As with all sources of artificial ionizing radiation, considered use of this modifiable risk factor may be of benefit to patients.”
Elizabeth B. Claus, Lisa Calvocoressi, Melissa L. Bondy, Joellen M. Schildkraut, Joseph L. Wiemels, Margaret Wrensch. “Dental x-rays and risk of meningioma.” Cancer, 10 April 2012.