Last Published:  07/29/22 01:33:20 PM (Central)
Responsible Element: Space Radiation (SR)
Status: Open

It has long been appreciated that the risk of carcinogenesis arising from radiation exposure is highly correlated with underlying genetic factors and that certain populations are more susceptible to different types of cancer. Animal models (predominantly rodents) have traditionally utilized inbred stock (thereby having homogenous genetic background) and genetically modified animals that are generated to be susceptible to specific tumor types that may or may not accurately reflect human radiogenic tumorigenesis. Due to their inherent susceptibility, these models may overestimate the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) for protons and HZE ions on solid tumor carcinogenesis. Supporting this notion, a recent study by Edmondson et al. (2020) utilizing a genetically outbred mouse stock observed a high incidence of specific tumor types within some families and not at all in others as well as closely related families tended to share susceptibility indicating heritability of both spontaneous and radiation-associated tumor susceptibility. Understanding the role of genetic diversity in susceptibility to radiation carcinogenesis will support more accurate characterization of the risk for a genetically diverse astronaut population and provide a foundation for improved risk reduction strategies.


Ground-based research using appropriate in vitro and in vivo models to identify and quantify the role genetic diversity plays in space radiation carcinogenic risk. Assessment of cancer outcomes in relevant comparison populations.

Target for Closure
  • Identify biological models to assess the role of genetic background in space radiation-induced carcinogenesis and refine risk assessment.
  • Estimates of contribution of genetic  susceptibility to overall radiation-cancer risk following space radiation exposure based on biological models and relevant epidemiological cohorts.
  • Recommendations for use of appropriate representative populations to assess lifetime risk in an astronaut population.
Risk Risk of Radiation Carcinogenesis
You are here! Gap Cancer-202: Evaluate the contribution of genetic background/diversity on carcinogenesis risk.

Multi-Disciplinary Research Plans

No Documentation Available