Threshold dose-response in radiation carcinogenesis: an approach from chronic beta-irradiation experiments and a review of non-tumour doses

Int J Radiat Biol. 2001 May;77(5):541-51. doi: 10.1080/09553000110034612.


Purpose: To discuss the threshold dose problem in radiation carcinogenesis after a review of the present author's experimental data on mouse tumour induction by chronic beta-irradiation and other relevant data.

Conclusions: A threshold dose-response in radiation carcinogenesis appears in certain tissues and under certain conditions. The optimum condition for demonstrating an apparent threshold is with partial-body chronic or repeated radiation rather than with acute whole-body radiation. Its possible mechanism is host tolerance, involving DNA repair, apoptosis and an immune response activated by low radiation doses. This tolerance level was examined by a survey in the literature of non-tumour-inducing doses, D(nt), the highest dose at which no significant increase of tumours was observed above the control level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Beta Particles / adverse effects*
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Time Factors