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JACC Basic Transl Sci. 2018 Aug 28;3(4):563-572. doi: 10.1016/j.jacbts.2018.01.014. eCollection 2018 Aug.

Radiation-Induced Endothelial Vascular Injury: A Review of Possible Mechanisms.

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Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
Department of Cardiology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Houston, Texas.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.


In radiation therapy for cancer, the therapeutic ratio represents an optimal balance between tumor control and normal tissue complications. As improvements in the therapeutic arsenal against cancer extend longevity, the importance of late effects of radiation increases, particularly those caused by vascular endothelial injury. Radiation both initiates and accelerates atherosclerosis, leading to vascular events like stroke, coronary artery disease, and peripheral artery disease. Increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the blood of long-term survivors of the atomic bomb suggest that radiation evokes a systemic inflammatory state responsible for chronic vascular side effects. In this review, the authors offer an overview of potential mechanisms implicated in radiation-induced vascular injury.


ATM, ataxia telangiectasia mutated; CD, cluster of differentiation; EC, endothelial cell; HUVEC, human umbilical vein endothelial cell; IGF, insulin-like growth factor; IGFBP, insulin-like growth factor binding protein; LDL, low-density lipoprotein; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; NEMO, nuclear factor kappa B essential modulator; NF-κB, nuclear factor-kappa beta; ROS, reactive oxygen species; SEK1, stress-activated protein kinase 1; TNF, tumor necrosis factor; XIAP, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis; angiogenesis; apoptosis; cytokines; mTOR, mammalian target of rapamycin; senescence

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