Web-based scoring of the dicentric assay, a collaborative biodosimetric scoring strategy for population triage in large scale radiation accidents

H. Romm*, Elizabeth Ainsbury, A. Bajinskis, Stephen Barnard, J. F. Barquinero, L. Barrios, C. Beinke, R. Puig-Casanovas, M. Deperas-Kaminska, E. Gregoire, U. Oestreicher, C. Lindholm, Jayne Moquet, Kai Rothkamm, S. Sommer, H. Thierens, A. Vral, V. Vandersickel, A. Wojcik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In the case of a large scale radiation accident high throughput methods of biological dosimetry for population triage are needed to identify individuals requiring clinical treatment. The dicentric assay performed in web-based scoring mode may be a very suitable technique. Within the MULTIBIODOSE EU FP7 project a network is being established of 8 laboratories with expertise in dose estimations based on the dicentric assay. Here, the manual dicentric assay was tested in a web-based scoring mode. More than 23,000 high resolution images of metaphase spreads (only first mitosis) were captured by four laboratories and established as image galleries on the internet (cloud). The galleries included images of a complete dose effect curve (0-5.0 Gy) and three types of irradiation scenarios simulating acute whole body, partial body and protracted exposure. The blood samples had been irradiated in vitro with gamma rays at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Two laboratories provided image galleries from Fluorescence plus Giemsa stained slides (3 h colcemid) and the image galleries from the other two laboratories contained images from Giemsa stained preparations (24 h colcemid). Each of the 8 participating laboratories analysed 3 dose points of the dose effect curve (scoring 100 cells for each point) and 3 unknown dose points (50 cells) for each of the 3 simulated irradiation scenarios. At first all analyses were performed in a QuickScan Mode without scoring individual chromosomes, followed by conventional scoring (only complete cells, 46 centromeres). The calibration curves obtained using these two scoring methods were very similar, with no significant difference in the linear-quadratic curve coefficients. Analysis of variance showed a significant effect of dose on the yield of dicentrics, but no significant effect of the laboratories, different methods of slide preparation or different incubation times used for colcemid. The results obtained to date within the MULTIBIODOSE project by a network of 8 collaborating laboratories throughout Europe are very promising. The dicentric assay in the web based scoring mode as a high throughput scoring strategy is a useful application for biodosimetry in the case of a large scale radiation accident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-254
Number of pages14
JournalRadiation and Environmental Biophysics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors wish to thank Marina DiGiorgio for sharing the software to calculate the CV, trueness and robust average. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no 241536. URL:http://www.multibiodose.eu.


  • Biological dosimetry
  • Dicentric assay
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Radiation accident
  • Radiation dose assessment
  • Web based scoring


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