Elmore, E., Lao, X-Y., Kapadia, R. and Redpath, J. L. The Effect of Dose Rate on Radiation-Induced Neoplastic Transformation In Vitro by Low Doses of Low-LET Radiation. Radiat. Res. 166, 832–838 (2006).
The dependence of the incidence of radiation-induced cancer on the dose rate of the radiation exposure is a question of considerable importance to the estimation of risk of cancer induction by low-dose-rate radiation. Currently a dose and dose-rate effectiveness factor (DDREF) is used to convert high-dose-rate risk estimates to low dose rates. In this study, the end point of neoplastic transformation in vitro has been used to explore this question. It has been shown previously that for low doses of low-LET radiation delivered at high dose rates, there is a suppression of neoplastic transformation frequency at doses less than around 100 mGy. In the present study, dose–response curves up to a total dose of 1000 mGy have been generated for photons from 125I decay (approximately 30 keV) delivered at doses rates of 0.19, 0.47, 0.91 and 1.9 mGy/min. The results indicate that at dose rates of 1.9 and 0.91 mGy/min the slope of the induction curve is about 1.5 times less than that measured at high dose rate in previous studies with a similar quality of radiation (28 kVp mammographic energy X rays). In the dose region of 0 to 100 mGy, the data were equally well fitted by a threshold or linear no-threshold model. At dose rates of 0.19 and 0.47 mGy/min there was no induction of transformation even at doses up to 1000 mGy, and there was evidence for a possible suppressive effect. These results show that for this in vitro end point the DDREF is very dependent on dose rate and at very low doses and dose rates approaches infinity. The relative risks for the in vitro data compare well with those from epidemiological studies of breast cancer induction by low- and high-dose-rate radiation.