Assessment methods for inter-laboratory comparisons of the dicentric assay

Jorge Ernesto González Mesa, Bret Holladay, Manuel Higueras, Marina Di Giorgio, Joan Francesc Barquinero

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Purpose: To test the performance of different algorithms that can be used in inter-laboratory comparisons based on dicentric chromosome analysis, and to evaluate the impact of considering a priori values different to calculate individual laboratory performance based on the ionizing radiation dose estimation. Methods: Mean and standard deviation estimations in inter-laboratory comparisons are tested on simulated data and data from previously published inter-laboratory comparisons using three robust algorithms, Algorithm A, Algorithm B and Q/Hampel, all programmed in R-project language and implemented in a Shiny application. The simulated data were generated assuming three different probabilities to contaminate inter-laboratory comparisons samples with atypical dose values. Comparison between different algorithms was also done using published exercises where blood samples were irradiated at 0 and 0.7 Gy that represent a challenge for the assessment of an inter-laboratory comparison. Results: The best performance was obtained with the Q/Hampel algorithm for the estimation of the dose mean and with the Algorithm B for the estimation of the dose standard deviation under the conditions tested in the simulations. The Q/Hampel algorithm showed the best performance when non-irradiated samples were evaluated and there was a high proportion of identical values. The presence identical values cause the Algorithm B to fail. Real examples illustrating the need to consider standard deviation priors, and the need to use algorithms resistant to a high proportion of identical values are presented. Conclusions: Q/Hampel algorithm is a serious candidate to estimate the dose mean in the inter-laboratory comparisons, and to estimate both parameters when the proportion of identical values equals or higher than the half of the results. When the proportion of identical values is less than the half of the results, the Algorithm B should be considered as a candidate to estimate the standard deviation in the inter-laboratory comparisons with small number of laboratories. We remark that special attention is needed to establish prior definitions of standard deviation in the assessment of inter-laboratory dicentric assay comparisons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Early online date20 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022


  • Dicentric assay
  • Shiny application
  • laboratory comparisons
  • robust algorithms


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