Australasian Physical & Engineering Sciences in Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 345–350

Hidden stressors in the clonogenic assay used in radiobiology experiments


  • M. D. E. Potter
    • Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Sydney
    • Department of Radiation OncologyRoyal Prince Alfred Hospital
    • Department of Radiation OncologyRoyal Prince Alfred Hospital
    • School of PhysicsUniversity of Sydney
  • S. Rizvi
    • Department of Radiation OncologyRoyal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • D. R. McKenzie
    • School of PhysicsUniversity of Sydney
Scientific Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s13246-011-0082-4

Cite this article as:
Potter, M.D.E., Suchowerska, N., Rizvi, S. et al. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med (2011) 34: 345. doi:10.1007/s13246-011-0082-4


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 assayBystander effectCell culture mediaCell growth stressorsRadiobiology

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© Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine 2011