Radiation response and cure rate of human colon adenocarcinoma spheroids of different size: The significance of hypoxia on tumor control modelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • Authors:
  • F. M. Buffa
  • C. West
  • K. Byrne
  • J. V. Moore
  • A. E. Nahum


Purpose: To evaluate the adequacy of a Poisson tumor control probability (tcp) model and the impact of hypoxia on tumor cure. Methods and Materials: A human colon adenocarcinoma cell line, WiDr, was grown as multicellular spheroids of different diameters. Measurements were made of cell survival and spheroid cure following 300-kV X-ray external beam irradiation in air and nitrogen. Cell survival data were fitted using a two-compartment and an oxygen diffusion model. Spheroid cure data were fitted using the tcp model. Results: Hypoxia was seen only for spheroids greater than 500 μm in diameter. For small spheroids tcp estimates of radiosensitivity and clonogenic number showed excellent agreement with experimentally derived values. For large spheroids, although tcp estimates of radiosensitivity were comparable with measurements, estimates of the clonogenic number were considerably lower than the experimental count. Reoxygenation of large spheroids before irradiation resulted in the tcp estimates of the number of clonogenic cells agreeing with measured values. Conclusions: When hypoxia was absent, the tcp model accurately predicted cure from measured radiosensitivity and clonogen number. When hypoxia was present, the number of cells capable of regrowth in situ was considerably lower than the number of clonogenic cells that initially survived irradiation. As this counteracted the decreased radiosensitivity, hypoxia was less important for cure than predicted from cell survival assays. This finding suggests that chronic hypoxia may not limit directly the success of radiation therapy. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1118
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2001