Journal of Radiation Oncology

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 109–115 | Cite as

Low-dose total body irradiation: an overlooked cancer immunotherapy technique



Low-dose total body irradiation (LD-TBI) has been shown to be an effective therapy for patients with hematologic malignancies. The application of this method has fallen out of favor as newer systemic therapies have been developed. Nevertheless, for management of many of these hematologic malignancies, no prospective randomized trial has shown that any other treatment is unequivocally superior to LD-TBI. The precise mechanism of action is uncertain but it is believed by some to be at least partly immunologically mediated. In this review, we shall discuss the clinical data on this method along with some new potential applications. We also discuss some of the potential immunological mechanisms behind LD-TBI and consider future possibilities.


TBI Total body irradiation Cancer immunotherapy 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Statement of informed consent was not applicable since the manuscript does not contain any patient data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alec M. Block
    • 1
  • Scott R. Silva
    • 1
  • James S. Welsh
    • 1
  1. 1.Stritch School of Medicine, Department of Radiation OncologyLoyola University of ChicagoMaywoodUSA

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