Neoplastic transformation in vitro after exposure to low doses of mammographic-energy X rays: quantitative and mechanistic aspects

Radiat Res. 2004 Dec;162(6):646-54. doi: 10.1667/rr3277.


The induction of neoplastic transformation in vitro after exposure of HeLa x skin fibroblast hybrid cells to low doses of mammography-energy (28 kVp) X rays has been studied. The data indicate no evidence of an increase in transformation frequency over the range 0.05 to 22 cGy, and doses in the range 0.05 to 1.1 cGy may result in suppression of transformation frequencies to levels below that seen spontaneously. This finding is not consistent with a linear, no-threshold dose- response curve. The dose range at which possible suppression is evident includes doses typically experienced in mammographic examination of the human breast. Experiments are described that attempt to elucidate any possible role of bystander effects in modulating this low-dose radiation response. Not unexpectedly, inhibition of gap junction intercellular communication (GJIC) with the inhibitor lindane did not result in any significant alteration of transformation frequencies seen at doses of 0.27 or 5.4 cGy in these subconfluent cultures. Furthermore, no evidence of a bystander effect associated with factors secreted into the extracellular medium was seen in medium transfer experiments. Thus, in this system and under the experimental conditions used, bystander effects would not appear to be playing a major role in modulating the shape of the dose-response curve.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bystander Effect
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Gap Junctions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Energy Transfer
  • Mammography*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • X-Rays