Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Semin Radiat Oncol. 2000 Jul;10(3):200-9.

Tissue tolerance to reirradiation.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


There are increasing requests for delivering a second course of radiation to patients who develop second primary tumors within or close to previous radiotherapy portal or late in-field recurrences. Rational treatment decisions demand rather precise knowledge on long-term recovery of occult radiation injury in various organs. This article summarizes available experimental and clinical data on the effects of reirradiation to the skin, mucosa, gut, lung, spinal cord, brain, heart, bladder, and kidney. The data reveal that, in general, acutely responding tissues recover radiation injury within a few months and, therefore, can tolerate another full course of radiation. For late toxicity endpoints, however, tissues vary considerably in their capacity to recover from occult radiation damage. The heart, bladder, and kidney do not exhibit long-term recovery at all. In contrast, the skin, mucosa, lung, and spinal cord do recover subclinical injury partially to a magnitude dependent on the organ type, size of the initial dose, and, to a lesser extent, the interval between radiation courses. The available clinical data have inspired many radiation oncologists to undertake systematic studies addressing the efficacy and toxicity of reirradiation in various clinical settings. Hopefully, systematic scoring, collection, and analysis of patient outcome will produce quantitative data useful for clinical practice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center