Linear No-Threshold Model VS. Radiation Hormesis

Dose Response. 2013 May 24;11(4):480-97. doi: 10.2203/dose-response.13-005.Doss. eCollection 2013.


The atomic bomb survivor cancer mortality data have been used in the past to justify the use of the linear no-threshold (LNT) model for estimating the carcinogenic effects of low dose radiation. An analysis of the recently updated atomic bomb survivor cancer mortality dose-response data shows that the data no longer support the LNT model but are consistent with a radiation hormesis model when a correction is applied for a likely bias in the baseline cancer mortality rate. If the validity of the phenomenon of radiation hormesis is confirmed in prospective human pilot studies, and is applied to the wider population, it could result in a considerable reduction in cancers. The idea of using radiation hormesis to prevent cancers was proposed more than three decades ago, but was never investigated in humans to determine its validity because of the dominance of the LNT model and the consequent carcinogenic concerns regarding low dose radiation. Since cancer continues to be a major health problem and the age-adjusted cancer mortality rates have declined by only ∼10% in the past 45 years, it may be prudent to investigate radiation hormesis as an alternative approach to reduce cancers. Prompt action is urged.

Keywords: Adaptive Response; Atomic Bomb Survivors; LNT Model; Radiation Hormesis.