Scientific Paper

Australasian Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 345-350

First online:

Hidden stressors in the clonogenic assay used in radiobiology experiments

  • M. D. E. PotterAffiliated withFaculty of Medicine, University of SydneyDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • , N. SuchowerskaAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred HospitalSchool of Physics, University of Sydney Email author 
  • , S. RizviAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • , D. R. McKenzieAffiliated withSchool of Physics, University of Sydney

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


While clonogenic assays are extensively used in radiobiology, there is no widely accepted procedure for choosing the composition of the cell culture media. Cell line suppliers recommend a specific culture medium for each cell line, however a researcher will frequently customize this aspect of the protocol by supplementing the recommended support medium with additives. For example, many researchers add antibiotics, in order to avoid contamination of cells and the consequent loss of data, with little discussion of the influence of the antibiotics on the clonogenic survival of the cells. It is assumed that the effect of any variables in the growth medium on cell survival is taken into consideration by comparing the survival fraction relative to that of controls grown under the same conditions. In the search for better cancer treatment, the effect of various stressors on clonogenic cell survival is under investigation. This study seeks to identify and test potential stressors commonly introduced into the cell culture medium, which may confound the response to radiation.


Clonogenic assay Bystander effect Cell culture media Cell growth stressors Radiobiology