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Int J Radiat Biol. 2001 Apr;77(4):399-408.

Hyperthermic radiosensitization: mode of action and clinical relevance.

Author information

1
Department of Radiation and Stress Cell Biology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. h.h.kampinga@med.rug.nl

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To provide an update on the recent knowledge about the molecular mechanisms of thermal radiosensitization and its possible relevance to thermoradiotherapy.

SUMMARY:

Hyperthermia is probably the most potent cellular radiosensitizer known to date. Heat interacts with radiation and potentiates the cellular action of radiation by interfering with the cells' capability to deal with radiation-induced DNA damage. For ionizing irradiation, heat inhibits the repair of all types of DNA damage. Genetic and biochemical data suggest that the main pathways for DNA double-strand break (DSB) rejoining, non-homologous end-joining and homologous recombination, are not the likely primary targets for heat-induced radiosensitization. Rather, heat is suggested to affect primarily the religation step of base excision repair. Subsequently additional DSB arise during the DNA repair process in irradiated and heated cells and these additional DSB are all repaired with slow kinetics, the repair of which is highly error prone. Both mis- and non-rejoined DSB lead to an elevated number of lethal chromosome aberrations, finally causing additional cell killing. Heat-induced inhibition of DNA repair is considered not to result from altered signalling or enzyme inactivation but rather from alterations in higher-order chromatin structure. Although, the detailed mechanisms are not yet known, a substantial body of indirect and correlative data suggests that heat-induced protein aggregation at the level of attachment of looped DNA to the nuclear matrix impairs the accessibility of the damaged DNA for the repair machinery or impairs the processivity of the repair machinery itself.

CONCLUSION:

Since recent phase III clinical trials have shown significant benefit of adding hyperthermia to radiotherapy regimens for a number of malignancies, it will become more important again to determine the molecular effects underlying this success. Such information could eventually also improve treatment quality in terms of patient selection, improved sequencing of the heat and radiation treatments, the number of heat treatments, and multimodality treatments (i.e. thermochemoradiotherapy).

PMID:
11304434
DOI:
10.1080/09553000010024687
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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