Citation, DOI & article data
Radiation-induced carcinogenesis is widely but not universally believed to occur at exposures from ionizing radiation used in medical imaging. It is thought to be a stochastic effect of ionizing radiation, with the linear no-threshold theory (LNT) proposing no "safe" level of radiation exposure, and an increased risk of cancer with increasing dose 1,2. The LNT is not universally accepted with some proposing an adaptive dose-response relationship where low doses are protective and high doses are detrimental 5.
The latency period between radiation exposure and cancer detection varies 3,4:
- leukemia: minimum of 2-3 years with a peak incidence at 10 years after radiation exposure
- solid tumors: minimum of 10-15 years with a peak incidence of up to 50 years after radiation exposure
It is important to note that individual studies that explore radiation-induced carcinogenesis as a result of low doses (<100mGy) have low statistical power and overall are not statistically significant 6.
- 1. Shah DJ, Sachs RK, Wilson DJ. Radiation-induced cancer: a modern view. The British journal of radiology. 85 (1020): e1166-73. doi:10.1259/bjr/25026140 - Pubmed
- 2. Little JB. Radiation carcinogenesis. Carcinogenesis. 21 (3): 397-404. Pubmed
- 3. Jerrold T. Bushberg. The Essential Physics of Medical Imaging. ISBN: 9780683301182
- 4. Waun Ki Hong, William N. Hait. Holland Frei Cancer Medicine Eight. ISBN: 9781607950141
- 5. Lall R, Ganapathy S, Yang M, Xiao S, Xu T, Su H, Shadfan M, Asara JM, Ha CS, Ben-Sahra I, Manning BD, Little JB, Yuan ZM. Low-dose radiation exposure induces a HIF-1-mediated adaptive and protective metabolic response. Cell death and differentiation. 21 (5): 836-44. doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.24 - Pubmed
- 6. Shore R, Beck H, Boice J et al. Recent Epidemiologic Studies and the Linear No-Threshold Model For Radiation Protection—Considerations Regarding NCRP Commentary 27. Health Phys. 2019;116(2):235-46. doi:10.1097/hp.0000000000001015 - Pubmed