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Potential Molecular Mechanisms behind the Ultra-High Dose Rate "FLASH" Effect

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

FLASH radiotherapy, or the delivery of a dose at an ultra-high dose rate (>40 Gy/s), has recently emerged as a promising tool to enhance the therapeutic index in cancer treatment. The remarkable sparing of normal tissues and equivalent tumor control by FLASH irradiation compared to conventional dose rate irradiation—the FLASH effect—has already been demonstrated in several preclinical models and even in a first patient with T-cell cutaneous lymphoma. However, the biological mechanisms responsible for the differential effect produced by FLASH irradiation in normal and cancer cells remain to be elucidated. This is of great importance because a good understanding of the underlying radiobiological mechanisms and characterization of the specific beam parameters is required for a successful clinical translation of FLASH radiotherapy. In this review, we summarize the FLASH investigations performed so far and critically evaluate the current hypotheses explaining the FLASH effect, including oxygen depletion, the production of reactive oxygen species, and an altered immune response. We also propose a new theory that assumes an important role of mitochondria in mediating the normal tissue and tumor response to FLASH dose rates.
Tijdschrift: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
ISSN: 1422-0067
Issue: 20
Volume: 23
Jaar van publicatie:2022