Carcinoma of the large bowel after a single massive dose of radiation in healthy teenagers

Siegfried Rotmensch*, Itamar Avigad, Edy E. Soffer, Ada Horowitz, Simon Bar‐Meir, Ronit Confino, Abraham Czerniak, Isidor Wolfstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three healthy teenagers were exposed to a single pelvic x‐ray irradiation as part of sterilization experiments performed in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943. Single and multiple carcinomas of the colon and rectum developed 40 years later in the radiation field. Histologic examination of surgical specimens revealed severe radiation‐induced changes in all layers of tumor‐adjacent areas. In contrast to previous reports of radiation‐induced large bowel cancers, these women had not undergone repeated courses of radiation, had no known co‐existing disease that might raise the risk for colonic and rectal malignancies, and had an extremely long and remarkably similar latency period. These cases emphasize the need for long‐term surveillance in previously radiated patients. Since thousands of teenagers were subjected to similar sterilization experiments, awareness of this association might help in the early diagnosis of additional cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)728-731
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 1986


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