Radiation adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) are on the horizon: Advancing radiation protection through an international Horizon-Style exercise

Julie J. Burtt, Julie Leblanc, Kristi Randhawa, Murray A. Rudd, Ruth Wilkins, Edouard I. Azzam, Markus Hecker, Nele Horemans, Hildegarde Vandenhove, Christelle Adam-Guillermin, Olivier Armant, Dmitry Klokov, Karine Audouze, Jan Christian Kaiser, Simone Moertl, Katalin Lumniczky, Ignacia Braga Tanaka III, Yutaka Yamada, Nobuvuki Hamada, Isaf Al-NabulsiJulian R. Preston, Simon Bouffler, Kimberly Applegate, Donald Cool, Danielle Beaton, Knut Erik Tollefsen, Jacqueline Garnier-Laplace, Dominique Laurier, Vinita Chauhan

    Research outputpeer-review


    Purpose: The Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) framework, a systematic tool that can link available mechanistic data with phenotypic outcomes of relevance to regulatory decision-making, is being explored in areas related to radiation risk assessment. To examine the challenges including the use of AOPs to support the radiation protection community, an international horizon-style exercise (HSE) was initiated through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency High-Level Group on Low Dose Research Radiation/Chemical AOP Joint Topical Group (JTG). The objective of the HSE was to facilitate the collection of ideas from a range of experts, to short-list a set of priority research questions that could, if answered, improve the description of the radiation dose-response relationship for low dose/dose-rate exposures, as well as reduce uncertainties in estimating the risk of developing adverse health outcomes following such exposures. Materials and methods: The HSE was guided by an international steering committee (SC) of radiation risk experts. In the first phase, research questions were solicited on areas that can be supported by the AOP framework, or challenges on the use of AOPs in radiation risk assessment. In the second phase, questions received were refined and sorted by the SC using a best-worst scaling (BWS) method. During a virtual 3-day workshop, the list of questions was further narrowed. In the third phase, an international survey of the broader radiation protection community led to an orderly ranking of the top questions. Results: Of the 271 questions solicited, 254 were accepted and categorized into 9 themes. These were further refined to the top 25 prioritized questions. Among these, the higher ranked questions will be considered as ‘important’ to drive future initiatives in the low dose radiation protection community. These included questions on the ability of AOPs to delineate responses across different levels of biological organization, and how AOPs could be applied to address research questions on radiation quality, doses or dose-rates, exposure time patterns and deliveries, and uncertainties in low dose/dose-rate effects. A better understanding of these concepts is required to support the use of the AOP framework in radiation risk assessment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2121436
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - 26 Sep 2022

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