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Comparison of Two Dose Assessment Methods for Exposures to Nuclear Detonation Radiation

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02226874
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 27, 2014
Last Update Posted : June 19, 2019
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Cancer Institute (NCI) )

Brief Summary:


- The National Cancer Institute was funded to study how much radiation U.S. veterans who served in the 1950s were exposed to. Researchers want to estimate how much radiation these veterans received. They will use two methods and compare them. One is to interview the veterans and study their military records. The other is to take blood samples and look for certain types of changes in the blood cells. Being exposed to some kinds of radiation is known to cause changes in blood cells. The amount of changes to these cells tells scientists about how much radiation was received.


- To better understand how to measure how much radiation a person has received.


  • Veterans who were exposed to radiation at a specific site in the Pacific in 1954 or other sites in the 1950s.
  • Veterans close in age to the first group, who have low levels of exposure to radiation.
  • Men about 25 years old with no exposure to radiation.


  • Participants will have 1 visit, in their home.
  • All participants will have blood drawn. This will take 10 minutes.
  • The exposed veterans will be interviewed. They will answer questions about the nuclear events they experienced. This will take up to 40 minutes.
  • For the exposed veterans, researchers will look at their military records, if they can. They will estimate how much radiation the veteran received.

Condition or disease
Radiation Exposure

Detailed Description:

Understanding the potential consequences of exposures from nuclear detonations is a current national security concern. In the event of a nuclear detonation, an important priority for the scientific and national security community is to be able to estimate exposure to the general population for medical triage, treatment, follow-up and risk projection for public health purposes. The only available comprehensive exposure estimates for persons exposed to nuclear detonation radiation are from studies of wartime atomic bomb survivors. There is an urgent need to evaluate exposure assessment methods in other populations and to determine how well each works and the obstacles involved in the application of each.

In the absence of other studies of exposures to nuclear detonation radiation, the Atomic Veterans Epidemiologic Study (AVES)1, a large ongoing study of atomic veterans of 115,000 atomic veterans who participated in aboveground nuclear weapon tests during 1945-1962 provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the lasting biological effects of radiations received during nuclear detonations. That study has the means for identifying veterans who received the highest exposures as well as control subjects with minimal to no exposure. An overview of the AVES can be found at

We propose to conduct a small methodologic investigation with the following objective: evaluate the level of agreement between radiation exposure estimates from the generally simple and inexpensive assessment strategy of model-based dose reconstruction with the only well-established long-term biologically-based dose estimation technique - quantification of chromosome aberration frequency. In this study, the dose reconstruction would include individual interview data.

The study would be conducted using a group of U.S. veterans exposed to nuclear detonation radiation during the 1950s and 1960s. While there are many thousands of veterans still alive today who participated in nuclear testing-related activities, only 16 have been identified that are still living and that have estimated exposures of sufficient magnitude for the chromosome aberration frequency assay to be successful. These particular veterans were exposed on Rongerik Atoll in the Pacific in 1954 and at the Nevada Test Site in 1951-1952. The dose estimates will also be compared against individual records of exposure obtained from radiation film-badges, when available. All the persons to be studied are part of the study cohort in the AVES study.

The primary purpose of evaluating the model-based dose reconstruction with the dose estimates based on chromosome aberration frequency will be to assess the presence of any substantial differences (either systematic or random) in doses now being estimated via model-based dose reconstruction in the AVES. Because the chromosome aberration frequency assay is difficult, expensive and somewhat invasive (requiring a blood sample), it is not practical in a study of many thousands of subjects as in the AVES. Determination that the model-based dose estimations are not systematically different from FISH-estimated doses is of substantial value to the AVES. To a limited degree, i.e., within the constraints of the small sample size, the study may be indicative of the potential for model-based dose estimates to be relied upon if mass exposures were to take place from a nuclear detonation.

It is noteworthy that the collection of samples and data to evaluate doses in this study will take advantage of a one-of-a-kind situation to obtain exposure-related data from a unique (and rapidly dwindling) population living persons exposed to atomic weapons detonation radiation a situation that cannot be repeated except under wartime or actual national threat situations.

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Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 30 participants
Observational Model: Case-Control
Time Perspective: Retrospective
Official Title: A Comparison of Two Dose Assessment Methods for Exposures to Nuclear Detonation Radiation
Study Start Date : August 26, 2014
Actual Primary Completion Date : May 31, 2016
Actual Study Completion Date : May 31, 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Dosimetry data [ Time Frame: September 2014 - December 2016 ]
    Comparing dosimetry data between cases and controls

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   80 Years to 90 Years   (Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Male
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

EXPOSED VETERANS. Subjects for this investigation are required to have received, according to military records, whole-body radiation doses in excess of 0.25 Sv to ensure adequate detection of the radiation exposure by the FISH method. The recorded doses are crude dose estimates, often based on group radiation monitoring rather than on individual data, however, they are the only information available, upon which to select the study subjects that meet our criteria.

To date, 16 exposed veterans that meet this requirement have been identified by the AVES through accessing databases of the NTPRP constructed by the Dept. of Defense.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02226874

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United States, Colorado
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States, 80523
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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Principal Investigator: Steven L Simon National Cancer Institute (NCI)