Potential screening assays for individual radiation sensitivity and susceptibility and their current validation state

Maria Gomolka*, Benjamin Blyth, Michel Bourguignon, Christophe Badie, Annette Schmitz, Christopher Talbot, Christoph Hoeschen, Sisko Salomaa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The workshop on ‘Individual Radiosensitivity and Radiosusceptibility’ organized by MELODI and CONCERT on Malta in 2018, evaluated the current state of assays to identify sensitive and susceptible subgroups. The authors provide an overview on potential screening assays detecting individuals showing moderate to severe early and late radiation reactions or are at increased risk to develop cancer upon radiation exposure. Conclusion: It is necessary to separate clearly between tissue reactions and stochastic effects such as cancer when comparing the existing literature to validate various test systems. Requirements for the assays are set up. The literature is reviewed for assays that are reliable and robust. Sensitivity and specificity of the assays are regarded and scrutinized for modifying factors. Accuracy of an assay system is required to be more than 90% to balance risks of adverse reactions against risk to fail to cure the cancer. No assay/biomarker is in routine use. Assays that have shown predictive potential for radiosensitivity include SNPs, the RILA assay, and the pATM assay. A tree of risk guideline for radiologists is provided to assist medical treatment decisions. Recommendations for effective research include the setup of common retrospective and prospective cohorts/biobanks to validate current and future tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-296
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the MELODI Association and CONCERT European Joint Programme [H2020 Euratom grant number 662287] for the financial support of the 2018 workshop.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Copyright © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group LLC.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Radiation sensitivity
  • adverse radiation effects
  • cancer susceptibility
  • predicting tests


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