Electron specific absorbed fractions for the adult male and female ICRP/ICRU reference computational phantoms

Phys Med Biol. 2012 Jul 21;57(14):4501-26. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/14/4501. Epub 2012 Jun 22.


The calculation of radiation dose from internally incorporated radionuclides is based on so-called absorbed fractions (AFs) and specific absorbed fractions (SAFs). SAFs for monoenergetic electrons were calculated for 63 source regions and 67 target regions using the new male and female adult reference computational phantoms adopted by the ICRP and ICRU and the Monte Carlo radiation transport programme package EGSnrc. The SAF values for electrons are opposed to the simplifying assumptions of ICRP Publication 30. The previously applied assumption of electrons being fully absorbed in the source organ itself is not always true at electron energies above approximately 300-500 keV. High-energy electrons have the ability to leave the source organ and, consequently, the electron SAFs for neighbouring organs can reach the same magnitude as those for photons for electron energies above 1 MeV. The reciprocity principle known for photons can be extended to electron SAFs as well, thus making cross-fire electron SAFs mass-independent. To quantify the impact of the improved electron dosimetry in comparison to the dosimetry using the simple assumptions of ICRP Publication 30, absorbed doses per administered activity of three radiopharmaceuticals were evaluated with and without explicit electron transport. The organ absorbed doses per administered activity for the two evaluation methods agree within 2%-3% for most organs for radionuclides with decay spectra having electron energies below a few hundred keV and within approximately 20% if higher electron energies are involved. An important exception is the urinary bladder wall, where the dose is overestimated by 60-150% using the simplified ICRP 30 approach for the radiopharmaceuticals of this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electrons*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Agencies / standards*
  • Male
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiometry / instrumentation*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / administration & dosage
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / adverse effects


  • Radiopharmaceuticals