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Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 May;9(5):351-60. doi: 10.1038/nrc2603. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Radiation-induced bystander signalling in cancer therapy.

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  • 1Centre for Cancer Research & Cell Biology, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, UK.


Our understanding of how radiation kills normal and tumour cells has been based on an intimate knowledge of the direct induction of DNA damage and its cellular consequences. What has become clear is that, as well as responses to direct DNA damage, cell-cell signalling -- known as the bystander effect -- mediated through gap junctions and inflammatory responses may have an important role in the response of cells and tissues to radiation exposure and also chemotherapy agents. This Review outlines the key aspects of radiation-induced intercellular signalling and assesses its relevance for existing and future radiation-based therapies.

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