Int J Radiat Biol. 2023 Mar 7:1-12. doi: 10.1080/09553002.2023.2181998. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Exposure to different forms of ionizing radiation occurs in diverse occupational, medical, and environmental settings. Improving the accuracy of the estimated health risks associated with exposure is therefore, essential for protecting the public, particularly as it relates to chronic low dose exposures. A key aspect to understanding health risks is precise and accurate modeling of the dose-response relationship. Toward this vision, benchmark dose (BMD) modeling may be a suitable approach for consideration in the radiation field. BMD modeling is already extensively used for chemical hazard assessments and is considered statistically preferable to identifying low and no observed adverse effects levels. BMD modeling involves fitting mathematical models to dose-response data for a relevant biological endpoint and identifying a point of departure (the BMD, or its lower bound). Recent examples in chemical toxicology show that when applied to molecular endpoints (e.g. genotoxic and transcriptional endpoints), BMDs correlate to points of departure for more apical endpoints such as phenotypic changes (e.g. adverse effects) of interest to regulatory decisions. This use of BMD modeling may be valuable to explore in the radiation field, specifically in combination with adverse outcome pathways, and may facilitate better interpretation of relevant in vivo and in vitro dose-response data. To advance this application, a workshop was organized on June 3rd, 2022, in Ottawa, Ontario that brought together BMD experts in chemical toxicology and the radiation scientific community of researchers, regulators, and policy-makers. The workshop’s objective was to introduce radiation scientists to BMD modeling and its practical application using case examples from the chemical toxicity field and demonstrate the BMDExpress software using a radiation dataset. Discussions focused on the BMD approach, the importance of experimental design, regulatory applications, its use in supporting the development of adverse outcome pathways, and specific radiation-relevant examples.
CONCLUSIONS: Although further deliberations are needed to advance the use of BMD modeling in the radiation field, these initial discussions and partnerships highlight some key steps to guide future undertakings related to new experimental work.