Sensitivity analysis of parameters and methodological choices used in calculation of radiation detriment for solid cancer

Int J Radiat Biol. 2020 May;96(5):596-605. doi: 10.1080/09553002.2020.1708499. Epub 2020 Jan 21.


Purpose: Radiation detriment is a concept used by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) to quantify the harmful health effects of radiation exposure in humans. The current approach of radiation detriment calculation has been defined in ICRP Publication 103 in 2007. It is determined from lifetime risk of cancer and heritable effects for a composite reference population, taking into account the severity of the disease in terms of lethality, quality of life and years of life lost. Many parameters are used in the calculations and the variation of these parameters can have effects on the cancer detriment, which needs to be investigated.Materials and methods: In this paper, we conducted a sensitivity analysis for examining the impact of 12 different parameters or methodological choices on the calculation of solid cancer detriment, such as the lifetime risk calculation method, survival curve, dose and dose-rate effectiveness factor (DDREF), age-at-exposure, sex, reference population, risk transfer model, latency, attained age, lethality, minimum quality of life factor and relative cancer-free life lost. Sensitivity calculations have been performed systematically for each of 10 solid cancer sites, by changing each one of the parameters in turn.Results: This sensitivity analysis demonstrated a large impact on estimated detriment from DDREF, age-at-exposure, sex and lethality, a noticeable impact of risk transfer model associated to variation of baseline rates, and a limited impact of risk calculation method, survival curve, latency, attained age, quality of life and relative years of life lost.Conclusion: These results could have implications for radiation protection standards, and they should help define priorities for future research in the field of low radiation dose and dose rate research. The present sensitivity analysis is part of a global effort of ICRP to review the bases of radiation detriment calculation and assess potential evolutions to improve the radiation protection system.

Keywords: DDREF; ICRP; radiation detriment; sensitivity analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Protection / methods*
  • Risk