Cosmic radiation and cancer: Is there a link?

Rossella Di Trolio, Giuseppe Di Lorenzo, Bruno Fumo, Paolo A. Ascierto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cosmic radiation can cause genetic and cytogenetic damage. Certain occupations including airline pilots and cabin crew are acknowledged to have a greater exposure to cosmic radiation. In a systematic search of MEDLINE, performed from 1990 to 2014, we analyzed clinical studies using the keywords: cosmic radiation, cancer, chromosome aberration, pilots and astronauts. Increased incidence of skin cancers among airline cabin crew has been reported in a number of studies and appears to be the most consistent finding. However, as with other cancers, it is unclear whether increased exposure to cosmic radiation is a factor in the increased incidence or whether this can be explained by lifestyle factors. Further research is needed to clarify the risk of cancer in relation to cosmic radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1135
Number of pages13
JournalFuture Oncology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015


  • astronauts
  • cancer
  • chromosome aberrations
  • circadian disruptions
  • cockpit crew
  • cohort study
  • cosmic radiation
  • mortality
  • occupational exposure
  • pilots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Medicine(all)


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