12 March 2015
A new study has uncovered new clues about the risk of cancer from low-dose radiation, and whether patients are in danger when undergoing procedures.
Researchers from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) defined low doses as being equivalent to 100 millisieverts, which is around the amount produced from ten full-body CT scans.
They found that the risk of cancer highly depended on the genetic makeup, while they also learned a key details about how genes and the cells immediately surrounding a tumour affect cancer risk.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team found that more than a dozen regions in genomes contribute to an individual's sensitivity to low-dose radiation. However, these areas only become significantly pronounced when challenged by low-dose radiation.
The interactions also have a big impact at the cellular level. They change how the tumor microenvironment responds to cancer. Some of these changes can increase the risk of cancer development, the scientists found.
This could lead to new insights on how low-dose radiation affects people. The current model for predicting cancer risk from ionizing radiation holds that risk is directly proportional to dose. However, there is growing understanding that this relationship may not be appropriate at lower doses.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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