Dose, dose-rate and field size effects on cell survival following exposure to non-uniform radiation fields

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For the delivery of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), highly modulated fields are used to achieve dose conformity across a target tumour volume. Recent in vitro evidence has demonstrated significant alterations in cell survival occurring out-of-field which cannot be accounted for on the basis of scattered dose. The radiobiological effect of area, dose and dose-rate on out-of-field cell survival responses following exposure to intensity-modulated radiation fields is presented in this study. Cell survival was determined by clonogenic assay in human prostate cancer (DU-145) and primary fibroblast (AG0-1522) cells following exposure to different modulated field configurations delivered using a X-Rad 225 kVp x-ray source. Uniform survival responses were compared to in- and out-of-field responses in which 25-99% of the cell population was shielded. Dose delivered to the out-of-field region was varied from 1.6-37.2% of that delivered to the in-field region using different levels of brass shielding. Dose rate effects were determined for 0.2-4 Gy min⁻¹ for uniform and modulated exposures with no effect seen in- or out-of-field. Survival responses showed little dependence on dose rate and area in- and out-of-field with a trend towards increased survival with decreased in-field area. Out-of-field survival responses were shown to scale in proportion to dose delivered to the in-field region and also local dose delivered out-of-field. Mathematical modelling of these findings has shown survival response to be highly dependent on dose delivered in- and out-of-field but not on area or dose rate. These data provide further insight into the radiobiological parameters impacting on cell survival following exposure to modulated irradiation fields highlighting the need for refinement of existing radiobiological models to incorporate non-targeted effects and modulated dose distributions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3197-206
Number of pages10
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2012


  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated


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