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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Mar 1;70(3):847-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.10.059.

Universal survival curve and single fraction equivalent dose: useful tools in understanding potency of ablative radiotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9183, USA.



Overprediction of the potency and toxicity of high-dose ablative radiotherapy such as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) by the linear quadratic (LQ) model led to many clinicians' hesitating to adopt this efficacious and well-tolerated therapeutic option. The aim of this study was to offer an alternative method of analyzing the effect of SBRT by constructing a universal survival curve (USC) that provides superior approximation of the experimentally measured survival curves in the ablative, high-dose range without losing the strengths of the LQ model around the shoulder.


The USC was constructed by hybridizing two classic radiobiologic models: the LQ model and the multitarget model. We have assumed that the LQ model gives a good description for conventionally fractionated radiotherapy (CFRT) for the dose to the shoulder. For ablative doses beyond the shoulder, the survival curve is better described as a straight line as predicted by the multitarget model. The USC smoothly interpolates from a parabola predicted by the LQ model to the terminal asymptote of the multitarget model in the high-dose region. From the USC, we derived two equivalence functions, the biologically effective dose and the single fraction equivalent dose for both CFRT and SBRT.


The validity of the USC was tested by using previously published parameters of the LQ and multitarget models for non-small-cell lung cancer cell lines. A comparison of the goodness-of-fit of the LQ and USC models was made to a high-dose survival curve of the H460 non-small-cell lung cancer cell line.


The USC can be used to compare the dose fractionation schemes of both CFRT and SBRT. The USC provides an empirically and a clinically well-justified rationale for SBRT while preserving the strengths of the LQ model for CFRT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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