We present a novel mathematical formalism to predict the kinetics of DNA damage repair after exposure to both low- and high-LET radiation (X rays; 350 MeV/n 40Ar; 600 MeV/n 56Fe). Our method is based on monitoring DNA damage repair protein 53BP1 that forms radiation-induced foci (RIF) at locations of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) in the nucleus and comparing its expression in primary skin fibroblasts isolated from 15 mice strains. We previously reported strong evidence for clustering of nearby DSB into single repair units as opposed to the classic "contact-first" model where DSB are considered immobile. Here we apply this clustering model to evaluate the number of remaining RIF over time. We also show that the newly introduced kinetic metrics can be used as surrogate biomarkers for in vivo radiation toxicity, with potential applications in radiotherapy and human space exploration. In particular, we observed an association between the characteristic time constant of RIF repair measured in vitro and survival levels of immune cells collected from irradiated mice. Moreover, the speed of DNA damage repair correlated not only with radiation-induced cellular survival in vivo, but also with spontaneous cancer incidence data collected from the Mouse Tumor Biology database, suggesting a relationship between the efficiency of DSB repair after irradiation and cancer risk.