The dose of a substance that causes death in P% of a population is called an LDP, where LD stands for lethal dose. In radiation research, a common LDP of interest is the radiation dose that kills 50% of the population by a specified time, i.e., lethal dose 50 or LD50. When comparing LD50 between two populations, relative potency is the parameter of interest. In radiation research, this is commonly known as the dose reduction factor (DRF). Unfortunately, statistical inference on dose reduction factor is seldom reported. We illustrate how to calculate confidence intervals for dose reduction factor, which may then be used for statistical inference. Further, most dose reduction factor experiments use hundreds, rather than tens of animals. Through better dosing strategies and the use of a recently available sample size formula, we also show how animal numbers may be reduced while maintaining high statistical power. The illustrations center on realistic examples comparing LD50 values between a radiation countermeasure group and a radiation-only control. We also provide easy-to-use spreadsheets for sample size calculations and confidence interval calculations, as well as SAS® and R code for the latter.
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Vol. 180 • No. 6