Repair-dependent cell radiation survival and transformation: An integrated theory

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5 Scopus citations


The repair-dependent model of cell radiation survival is extended to include radiation-induced transformations. The probability of transformation is presumed to scale with the number of potentially lethal damages that are repaired in a surviving cell or the interactions of such damages. The theory predicts that at doses corresponding to high survival, the transformation frequency is the sum of simple polynomial functions of dose; linear, quadratic, etc, essentially as described in widely used linear-quadratic expressions. At high doses, corresponding to low survival, the ratio of transformed to surviving cells asymptotically approaches an upper limit. The low dose fundamental- and high dose plateau domains are separated by a downwardly concave transition region. Published transformation data for mammalian cells show the high-dose plateaus predicted by the repair-dependent model for both ultraviolet and ionizing radiation. For the neoplastic transformation experiments that were analyzed, the data can be fit with only the repair-dependent quadratic function. At low doses, the transformation frequency is strictly quadratic, but becomes sigmodial over a wider range of doses. Inclusion of data from the transition region in a traditional linear-quadratic analysis of neoplastic transformation frequency data can exaggerate the magnitude of, or create the appearance of, a linear component. Quantitative analysis of survival and transformation data shows good agreement for ultraviolet radiation; the shapes of the transformation components can be predicted from survival data. For ionizing radiations, both neutrons and x-rays, survival data overestimate the transforming ability for low to moderate doses. The presumed cause of this difference is that, unlike UV photons, a single x-ray or neutron may generate more than one lethal damage in a cell, so the distribution of such damages in the population is not accurately described by Poisson statistics. However, the complete sigmodial dose-response data for neoplastic transformations can be fit using the repair-dependent functions with all parameters determined only from transformation frequency data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5073-5090
Number of pages18
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • linear
  • mammalian cells
  • neoplastic transformation
  • neutron
  • quadratic
  • ultraviolet
  • x-rays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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