Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Radiation Oncology

pp 904-910

Total Body Irradiation (TBI)

  • Iris RusuAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, Loyola University Medical Center Email author 


Total body irradiation (TBI) refers to a complex treatment modality that delivers a relatively uniform dose (± 10%) of radiation to the entire patient body.

TBI is often used in the treatment of various leukemias, lymphomas, and other hematological disorders. TBI is given as part of preparatory regimens for bone marrow transplantation in both adult and pediatric patients. These regimens typically employ high dose chemotherapy administered in conjunction with radiation. The purpose of TBI is twofold: (1) to contribute to the eradication of malignant cells or cells with genetic disorders and (2) to immunosuppress the patient sufficiently to prevent rejection of the donor bone marrow.

Although the preparatory regimen can be established with chemotherapy alone, there are some advantages associated with the addition of TBI: (1) the dose delivered to the patient’s body is relatively homogeneous and independent of the blood supply, (2) there is no sparing of sanctuary si ...

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