Determination of tumor kinetics: strategies for the delivery of radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Curr Opin Oncol. 1999 May;11(3):177-82. doi: 10.1097/00001622-199905000-00007.


Both clinical and laboratory evidence indicates that local control rates for many experimental and clinical human tumors decrease with protraction of the overall duration of radiation therapy and that a likely basis for this decrease is tumor cell repopulation during treatment. Such observations have stimulated interest in tumor kinetics, and a number of techniques have been developed that increase the potential for meaningful clinical study of the proliferative behavior of tumors. This review discusses the clinical and experimental evidence for proliferation during treatment, describes two potential approaches-accelerated fractionation and concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy-that can be employed to counteract such intratreatment proliferation, explores methods available for measuring tumor cell kinetics, and discusses how kinetics information may be used in the future to tailor therapy to a tumor's individual characteristics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics