The study design and obtained results represent an intercomparison of various laboratories performing dose assessment using the dicentric chromosome analysis (DCA) as a diagnostic triage tool for individual radiation dose assessment. Homogenously X-irradiated (240 kVp, 1 Gy/min) blood samples for establishing calibration data (0.25–5 Gy) as well as blind samples (0.1–6.4 Gy) were sent to the participants. DCA was performed according to established protocols. The time taken to report dose estimates was documented for each laboratory. Additional information concerning laboratory organization/characteristics as well as assay performance was collected. The mean absolute difference (MAD) was calculated and radiation doses were merged into four triage categories reflecting clinical aspects to calculate accuracy, sensitivity and specificity. The earliest report time was 2.4 days after sample arrival. DCA dose estimates were reported with high and comparable accuracy, with MAD values ranging between 0.16–0.5 Gy for both manual and automated scoring. No significant differences were found for dose estimates based either on 20, 30, 40 or 50 cells, suggesting that the scored number of cells can be reduced from 50 to 20 without loss of precision of triage dose estimates, at least for homogenous exposure scenarios. Triage categories of clinical significance could be discriminated efficiently using both scoring procedures.
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Vol. 180 • No. 2