Recent epidemiology studies highlighted the detrimental health effects of exposure to low dose and low dose rate ionizing radiation (IR): nuclear industry workers studies have shown increased leukaemia and solid tumour risks following cumulative doses of <100 mSv and dose rates of <10 mGy per year; paediatric patients studies have reported increased leukaemia and brain tumours risks after doses of 30–60 mGy from computed tomography scans. Questions arise, however, about the impact of even lower doses and dose rates where classical epidemiological studies have limited power but where subsets within the large cohorts are expected to have an increased risk. Further progress requires integration of biomarkers or bioassays of individual exposure, effects and susceptibility to IR. The European DoReMi (Low Dose Research towards Multidisciplinary Integration) consortium previously reviewed biomarkers for potential use in IR epidemiological studies. Given the increased mechanistic understanding of responses to low dose radiation the current review provides an update covering technical advances and recent studies. A key issue identified is deciding which biomarkers to progress. A roadmap is provided for biomarker development from discovery to implementation and used to summarise the current status of proposed biomarkers for epidemiological studies. Most potential biomarkers remain at the discovery stage and for some there is sufficient evidence that further development is not warranted. One biomarker identified in the final stages of development and as a priority for further research is radiation specific mRNA transcript profiles.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
- Individual sensitivity
- Ionizing radiation
- Molecular epidemiology