Dose Estimation Using Dicentric Chromosome Assay and Cytokinesis Block Micronucleus Assay: Comparison between Manual and Automated Scoring in Triage Mode

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Abstract

In cases of an accidental overexposure to ionizing radiation, it is essential to estimate the individual absorbed dose of a potentially radiation-exposed person. For this purpose, biological dosimetry can be performed to confirm, complement or even replace physical dosimetry when this proves to be unavailable. The most validated biodosimetry techniques for dose estimation are the dicentric chromosome assay, the “gold standard” for individual dose assessment, and cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. However, both assays are time consuming and require skilled scorers. In case of large-scale accidents, different strategies have been developed to increase the throughput of cytogenetic service laboratories. These are the decrease of cell numbers to be scored for triage dosimetry; the automation of procedures including the scoring of, for example, aberrant chromosomes and micronuclei; and the establishment of laboratory networks in order to enable mutual assistance if necessary. In this study, the authors compared the accuracy of triage mode biodosimetry by dicentric chromosome analysis and the cytokinesis block micronucleus assay performing both the manual and the automated scoring mode. For dose estimation using dicentric chromosome assay of 10 blind samples irradiated up to 6.4 Gy of x-rays, a number of metaphase spreads were analyzed ranging from 20 up to 50 cells for the manual and from 20 up to 500 cells for the automatic scoring mode. For dose estimation based on the cytokinesis block micronucleus assay, the micronucleus frequency in both 100 and 200 binucleated cells was determined by manual and automatic scoring. The results of both assays and scoring modes were compared and analyzed considering the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of dose estimation with regard to the discrimination power of clinically relevant binary categories of exposure doses.

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