Biological dosimetry is an essential tool for estimating radiation dose. The dicentric chromosome assay (DCA) is currently the tool of choice. Because the assay is labor-intensive and time-consuming, strategies are needed to increase throughput for use in radiation mass casualty incidents. One such strategy is to truncate metaphase spread analysis for triage dose estimates by scoring 50 or fewer metaphases, compared to a routine analysis of 500 to 1000 metaphases, and to increase throughput using a large group of scorers in a biodosimetry network. Previously, the National Institutes for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) sponsored a double-blinded interlaboratory comparison among five established international cytogenetic biodosimetry laboratories to determine the variability in calibration curves and in dose measurements in unknown, irradiated samples. In the present study, we further analyzed the published data from this previous study to investigate how the number of metaphase spreads influences dose prediction accuracy and how this information could be of value in the triage and management of people at risk for the acute radiation syndrome (ARS). Although, as expected, accuracy decreased with lower numbers of metaphase spreads analyzed, predicted doses by the laboratories were in good agreement and were judged to be adequate to guide diagnosis and treatment of ARS. These results demonstrate that for rapid triage, a network of cytogenetic biodosimetry laboratories can accurately assess doses even with a lower number of scored metaphases.

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Journal Radiation Research
Romm, H. (Horst), Wilkins, R.C, Coleman, C.N. (C. Norman), Lillis-Hearne, P.K. (Patricia K.), Pellmar, T.C. (Terry C.), Livingston, G.K. (Gordon K.), … Prasanna, P.G.S. (Pataje G. S.). (2011). Biological dosimetry by the triage dicentric chromosome assay: Potential implications for treatment of acute radiation syndrome in radiological mass casualties. Radiation Research, 175(3), 397–404. doi:10.1667/RR2321.1