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Chapman JD
Single-hit mechanism of tumour cell killing by radiation
Int J Radiat Biol. 2003 Feb;79(2) :71-81
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Purpose: To review the relative importance of the single-hit mechanism of radiation killing for tumour response to 1.8-2.0 Gy day(-1) fractions and to low dose-rate brachytherapy. Materials and methods: Tumour cell killing by ionizing radiation is well described by the linear-quadratic equation that contains two independent components distinguished by dose kinetics. Analyses of tumour cell survival curves that contain six or more dose points usually provide good estimates of the alpha- and beta-inactivation coefficients. Superior estimates of tumour cell intrinsic radiosensitivity are obtained when synchronized populations are employed. The characteristics of single-hit inactivation of tumour cells are reviewed and compared with the characteristics of beta-inactivation. Potential molecular targets associated with single-hit inactivation are discussed along with strategies for potentiating cell killing by this mechanism. Results: The single-hit mechanism of tumour cell killing shows no dependence on dose-rate and, consequently, no evidence of sublethal damage repair. It is uniquely potentiated by high linear-energy-transfer radiation, exhibits a smaller oxygen enhancement ratio and exhibits a larger indirect effect by hydroxyl radicals than the beta-mechanism. alpha-inactivation coefficients vary slightly throughout interphase but mitotic cells exhibit extremely high alpha-coefficients in the range of those observed for lymphocytes and some repair-deficient cells. Evidence is accumulating to suggest that chromatin in compacted form could be a radiation-hypersensitive target associated with single-hit radiation killing. Conclusions: Analyses of tumour cell survival curves demonstrate that it is the single-hit mechanism (alpha) that determines the majority of cell killing after doses of 2Gy and that this mechanism is highly variable between tumour cell lines. The characteristics of single-hit inactivation are qualitatively and quantitatively distinct from those of beta-inactivation. Compacted chromatin in tumour cells should be further investigated as a radiation-hypersensitive target that could be modulated for therapeutic advantage.
22456702 0955-3002 Journal Article