Relevance and irrelevance of DNA damage response to radiotherapy

DNA Repair (Amst). 2004 Aug-Sep;3(8-9):1245-51. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2004.04.004.


Ionizing radiation (IR) has been used to treat human malignancies since the early part of the 20th century. To date, most of the advances in radiotherapy have focused on optimization of treatment delivery schedules and technologic improvements in the physical targeting of dose. By comparison, many of the discoveries regarding the molecular basis of DNA damage and repair have not yet been translated to clinical practice. This article offers some perspectives regarding modulators of radiation effects and the challenges faced as we approach newer molecular targets. Our goal is to frame the issues that contribute to the apparent disconnect between laboratory discoveries and improvements in clinically relevant therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Radiation Tolerance
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Radiotherapy / methods*
  • Risk


  • DNA
  • Oxygen