Renal dysfunction after total body irradiation: dose-effect relationship

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Jul 15;65(4):1228-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2006.02.021. Epub 2006 May 6.


Purpose: Late complications related to total body irradiation (TBI) as part of the conditioning regimen for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have been increasingly noted. We reviewed and compared the results of treatments with various TBI regimens and tried to derive a dose-effect relationship for the endpoint of late renal dysfunction. The aim was to find the tolerance dose for the kidney when TBI is performed.

Methods and materials: A literature search was performed using PubMed for articles reporting late renal dysfunction. For intercomparison, the various TBI regimens were normalized using the linear-quadratic model, and biologically effective doses (BEDs) were calculated.

Results: Eleven reports were found describing the frequency of renal dysfunction after TBI. The frequency of renal dysfunction as a function of the BED was obtained. For BED>16 Gy an increase in the frequency of dysfunction was observed.

Conclusions: The tolerance BED for kidney tissue undergoing TBI is about 16 Gy. This BED can be realized with highly fractionated TBI (e.g., 6x1.7 Gy or 9x1.2 Gy at dose rates>5 cGy/min). To prevent late renal dysfunction, the TBI regimens with BED values>16 Gy (almost all found in published reports) should be applied with appropriate shielding of the kidneys.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Kidney / radiation effects*
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology*
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness
  • Transplantation Conditioning / adverse effects
  • Whole-Body Irradiation / adverse effects*