RadRAT: a radiation risk assessment tool for lifetime cancer risk projection

J Radiol Prot. 2012 Sep;32(3):205-22. doi: 10.1088/0952-4746/32/3/205. Epub 2012 Jul 19.


Risk projection methods allow for timely assessment of the potential magnitude of radiation-related cancer risks following low-dose radiation exposures. The estimation of such risks directly through observational studies would generally require infeasibly large studies and long-term follow-up to achieve reasonable statistical power. We developed an online radiation risk assessment tool (RadRAT) which can be used to estimate the lifetime risk of radiation-related cancer with uncertainty intervals following a user-specified exposure history (https://irep.nci.nih.gov/radrat). The uncertainty intervals constitute a key component of the program because of the various assumptions that are involved in such calculations. The risk models used in RadRAT are broadly based on those developed by the BEIR VII committee for estimating lifetime risk following low-dose radiation exposure of the US population for eleven site-specific cancers. We developed new risk models for seven additional cancer sites, oral, oesophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, rectum, kidney and brain/central nervous system (CNS) cancers, using data from Japanese atomic bomb survivors. The lifetime risk estimates are slightly higher for RadRAT than for BEIR VII across all exposure ages mostly because the weighting of the excess relative risk and excess absolute risk models was conducted on an arithmetic rather than a logarithmic scale. The calculator can be used to estimate lifetime cancer risk from both uniform and non-uniform doses that are acute or chronic. It is most appropriate for low-LET radiation doses < 1 Gy, and for individuals with life-expectancy and cancer rates similar to the general population in the US.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Online Systems
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Uncertainty
  • United States / epidemiology