The Relationship Between DNA-Repair Genes, Cellular Radiosensitivity, and the Response of Tumors and Normal Tissues to Radiotherapy

Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D, volume 72)


Radiation therapy (XRT) continues to be an important component in the management of many cancer patients. The dose delivered to a tumor is calculated on the basis of the anticipated tolerance of the normal tissues within the irradiated field, which is determined empirically on the basis of population-averaged clinical data [1]. These calculations, which typically accept a severe late complication rate of ≤5 %, do not account for the different susceptibilities of XRT patients to late normal tissue effects [2], which can be severe and sometimes life threatening. Such interindividual variations are substantial even though major advances have been made with respect to the conformality of XRT delivery. Similarly, the clinical responsiveness of tumors to XRT is often quite different even among tumors of the same pathology. One approach to further improving the therapeutic outcome of XRT is to develop individualized treatment plans that utilize pretreatment biomarkers that would predict both normal tissue tolerance levels and/or tumor responsiveness to therapy on a patient-by-patient basis. For such biomarkers to become used routinely in the clinic, they will have to be capable of rapidly and reliably identifying unusually or even moderately radiosensitive patients or radioresistant tumors prior to treatment. This need has, for many years, driven intensive research into the development of assays and biomarkers for predicting individual radiosensitivity [3].


Ionize Radiation Base Excision Repair Ataxia Telangiectasia Homologous Recombination Repair Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful for support by the Alberta Cancer Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Experimental Oncology, Department of OncologyCross Cancer Institute, University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Division of Radiation Oncology, Department of OncologyCross Cancer Institute, University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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