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Thorotrastosis

Thorotrastosis

M131/0469

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Credit

CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Thorotrastosis. Light micrograph of a section through a liver showing thorotrastosis. This is a malignant (cancerous) change in tissue caused by a deposit of thorotrast, a diagnostic material injected into patients from 1929 to around 1960. It was used as a radiocontrast agent (a substance that blocks X-rays used to image tissues that would otherwise not show up on X-ray images, such as blood vessels). Thorotrast contained thorium oxide, and is harmful because the thorium 232 isotope emits damaging alpha particle radiation. As well as liver cancer, it causes nervous system tumours, leukaemia and blood disorders. Magnification unknown.

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