The relation between radiotherapy to the head and neck for tinea capitis childhood and the later development of tumors of the brain and nervous system have been investigated in 10,834 patients treated between 1948 and 1960 in Israel and the results evaluated at the Radiation Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. Neural tumors developed in 73 patients, 60 in irradiated subjects, 8 among general population controls, and 5 among sibling controls. The increase in incidence among those irradiated was 7 times that of controls. The relative risk of all head and neck situated neural tumors among irradiated subjects was 8.4. Increased relative risks were greater for benign nerve-sheath tumors (18.8;n = 25) than for meningiomas (9.5;n = 19) and gliomas (2.6;n = 7). A strong dose-response relation was shown, the risk approaching 20 after doses of 2.5 Gy. Radiation doses to the head and neck in childhood on the order of 1 to 2 GY significantly increased the risk of neural tumors in those areas. [1]

COMMENT. Radiation-induced tumors of the central nervous system are recognized as a consequence of combined treatments for leukemia chemotherapy and irradiation to the head. Therapeutic doses of radiation for childhood leukemia are higher than those used for the patients with tinea capitis in Israel and the relative risks are undetermined.