Radiobiology in Radiotherapy

  • Pawel Kukolowicz
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics book series (NAPSB, volume 1)


Very soon after discovery of X-Rays by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen the new radiation was used for therapeutic purposes. In 1896 several patients were treated in Germany, Austria and France with external beams. A few years later Radium discovered by Maria Skolodowska-Curie and Piere Curie was applied for treatment. The first article on radiotherapy was published in 1896 by French physician Victor Despeignes. In 1904, Joseph Belot published a textbook on radiotherapy in which several chapters were devoted to a historical review of teletherapy (!). [Belot. J. Trait de radiotherapie. Paris: G. Steinheil; 1904]. This time the radiation was used in purely empirical way. There was no idea how to measure the amount of radiation delivered to a patient. One should notice that the term “dose” or more correctly “absorbed dose” used today was directly taken from pharmacology. The first attempts of radiotherapy caused a large number of various skin lesions. This type of answer of skin to radiation, very easily noticed by vision, was of course, in the center of interest. Then one may express, that the radiobiology started parallel to application of ionizing radiation to treatment and diagnosis. In 1897 the results of first regular studies concerning effects of radiation on normal and malignant tissues were published. Slowly radiobiology became a separate branch of science, however always with the strong link to radiation therapy.


Total Dose Fraction Dose Fractionation Scheme Poisson Statistic Tumour Control Probability 
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  1. 1.
    E. Podgorsak, Radiation Oncology Physics: A Handbook for Teachers and Students, IAEA, Vienna.
  2. 2.
    A. Van der Kogel and Michael Jioner, Basic Clinical Radiobiology, A Hodder Arnold Publication, London, 2009.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Physics DepartmentHolycross Cancer CenterKielcePoland

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