Lifetime attributable risk as an alternative to effective dose to describe the risk of cancer for patients in diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study is to implement lifetime attributable risk (LAR) predictions of cancer for patients of various age and gender, undergoing diagnostic investigations or treatments in nuclear medicine and to compare the outcome with a population risk estimate using effective dose and the International Commission on Radiological Protection risk coefficients. The radiation induced risk of cancer occurrence (incidence) or death from four nuclear medicine procedures are estimated for both male and female between 0 and 120 years. Estimations of cancer risk are performed using recommended administered activities for two diagnostic (18F-FDG and 99mTc-phosphonate complex) and two therapeutic (131I-iodide and 223Ra-dichloride) radiopharmaceuticals to illustrate the use of cancer risk estimations in nuclear medicine. For 18F-FDG, the cancer incidence for a male of 5, 25, 50 and 75 years at exposure is 0.0021, 0.0010, 0.0008 and 0.0003, respectively. For 99mTc phosphonates complex the corresponding values are 0.000 59, 0.000 34, 0.000 27 and 0.000 13, respectively. For an 131I-iodide treatment with 3.7 GBq and 1% uptake 24 h after administration, the cancer incidence for a male of 25, 50 and 75 years at exposure is 0.041, 0.029 and 0.012, respectively. For 223Ra-dichloride with an administration of 21.9 MBq the cancer incidence for a male of 25, 50 and 75 years is 0.31, 0.21 and 0.09, respectively. The LAR estimations are more suitable in health care situations involving individual patients or specific groups of patients than the health detriment based on effective dose, which represents a population average. The detriment consideration in effective dose adjusts the cancer incidence for suffering of non-lethal cancers while LAR predicts morbidity (incidence) or mortality (cancer). The advantages of these LARs are that they are gender and age specific, allowing risk estimations for specific patients or subgroups thus better representing individuals in health care than effective dose.


External organisations
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
  • Cancer and Oncology


  • cancer risk estimations, diagnostic nuclear medicine, effective dose, lifetime attributable risk, therapeutic nuclear medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9177-9188
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 21
Publication categoryResearch