Incidence of second primary malignancy was 1% among young, adult patients who developed papillary thyroid cancer after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, according to new research.

Results also showed that these second malignancies included hematological malignancies, cervical, breast, and colon carcinomas.

“Based on data from European studies and the U.S. SEER database, an increased risk of second primary malignancy was found in thyroid cancer survivors,” Mikail Fridman, PhD, from the department of pathology at the Republican Centre for Thyroid Tumors in Belarus, Russia, and colleagues wrote in their study abstract.

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“The aim of our population-based study was to assess the prevalence and variation of [second primary malignancy] in patients treated for post-Chernobyl papillary thyroid cancer in Belarus as children or young adults.”

The research was presented at the 15th International Thyroid Congress and 85th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ITC/ATA) in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Dr Fridman and colleagues recruited 4237 patients born between 1972 and 1986 who were diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer and treated between 1990 and 2015.

The researchers identified 41 patients who developed second primary malignancy. Of these patients, 28 (68.3%) were women. The mean age of the participants was 24 and the mean age at development of second primary malignancy was 30.

The researchers treated 20 patients (48.8%) with radioiodine and external beam irradiation, with a mean I-131 activity of 7.47 GBq and 30 Gy to 40 Gy, respectively. They found solid tumors in 32 patients (78.0%) and integument malignancies in 11 patients.

They recorded breast carcinoma in 4 cases, melanoma in 3 cases, basal cell carcinoma in 2 cases, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans in 2 cases.

In 11 additional cases, Dr Fridman and colleagues found the primary site of second primary malignancy was in the genital and urinary tract. There were 7 cases of cervical carcinoma, where 5 cases were in situ. There were also 2 cases in the kidney, 1 case in the ovaries, and 1 case in the vulva.

The researchers also found 7 patients with second primary malignancy in their digestive tract. Of these, there were 4 cases of colon carcinoma, 1 case of gastric carcinoma, 1 case of parotid gland mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and 1 case of pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma.

There were 9 patients (22%) diagnosed with hematological malignancies, which included 4 cases of acute leukemia, 4 cases of Hodgkin lymphoma, and 1 case of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Dr Fridman and colleagues reported 9 deaths (22.0%) related to second primary malignancy, 7 of which were cases of solid carcinomas and 2 of which were cases of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


  1. Fridman M, Drozd V, Demidchik Y, et al. Short Oral Communication 53: Second Primary Malignancies In Belarus, Patients With Post-Chernobyl Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. Presented at the 15th International Thyroid Congress and 85th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association (ITC/ATA); October 18-23, 2015; Lake Buena Vista, FL.