Purpose: Recently, new studies have brought to light the potential risks of low dose radiation (LDR) in cancer. In this review, we discuss in detail the detrimental effects of LDR in some model organisms and animal models, as well as potential risks to human beings from some routine medical screening procedures. Furthermore, cellular mechanisms by which LDR exerts its negative effects like endoplasmic reticulum stress, epigenetic changes and microRNAs are also reviewed. A few studies are discussed that have reported some benefits of LDR through changes in energy metabolism. Lastly, we focus on breast cancer, one of the predominant forms of cancer potentially affected by LDR and some of the benefits of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) as dietary compounds that offer protection against radiation effects on cancer cells and cancer progression. Conclusions: Overall, LDR exerts mainly damaging effects through diverse cell and molecular mechanisms, with a few beneficial effects reported. In some cancers, surrounding adipose tissue of the breast may contribute to obesity-related cancer. Further, preclinical data suggest that anti-inflammatory dietary compounds such as PUFA and other dietary interventions may protect against radiation effects on cancer cells and cancer progression.
- Low dose