Heidenreich, W. F., Carnes, B. A. and Paretzke, H. G. Lung Cancer Risk in Mice: Analysis of Fractionation Effects and Neutron RBE with a Biologically Motivated Model. Radiat. Res. 166, 794–801 (2006).
Data from Argonne National Laboratory on lung cancer in 15,975 mice with acute and fractionated exposures to γ rays and neutrons are analyzed with a biologically motivated model with two rate-limiting steps and clonal expansion. Fractionation effects and effects of radiation quality can be explained well by the estimated kinetic parameters. Both an initiating and a promoting action of neutrons and γ rays are suggested. While for γ rays the initiating event is described well with a linear dose-rate dependence, for neutrons a nonlinear term is needed, with less effectiveness at higher dose rates. For the initiating event, the neutron RBE compared to γ rays is about 10 when the dose rate during each fraction is low. For higher dose rates this RBE decreases strongly. The estimated lifetime relative risk for radiation-induced lung cancers from 1 Gy of acute γ-ray exposure at an age of 110 days is 1.27 for male mice and 1.53 for female mice. For doses less than 1 Gy, the effectiveness of fractionated exposure to γ rays compared to acute exposure is between 0.4 and 0.7 in both sexes. For lifetime relative risk, the RBE from acute neutrons at low doses is estimated at about 10 relative to acute γ-ray exposure. It decreases strongly with dose. For fractionated neutrons, it is lower, down to about 4 for male mice.