Radiation oncology: a century of achievements

Nat Rev Cancer. 2004 Sep;4(9):737-47. doi: 10.1038/nrc1451.


Over the twentieth century the discipline of radiation oncology has developed from an experimental application of X-rays to a highly sophisticated treatment of cancer. Experts from many disciplines - chiefly clinicians, physicists and biologists - have contributed to these advances. Whereas the emphasis in the past was on refining techniques to ensure the accurate delivery of radiation, the future of radiation oncology lies in exploiting the genetics or the microenvironment of the tumour to turn cancer from an acute disease to a chronic disease that can be treated effectively with radiation.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Health Physics / history
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Oncology / history*
  • Radiation Oncology / trends
  • Radiobiology / history