Preventing or reducing late side effects of radiation therapy: radiobiology meets molecular pathology

Nat Rev Cancer. 2006 Sep;6(9):702-13. doi: 10.1038/nrc1950.


Radiation therapy has curative or palliative potential in roughly half of all incident solid tumours, and offers organ and function preservation in most cases. Unfortunately, early and late toxicity limits the deliverable intensity of radiotherapy, and might affect the long-term health-related quality of life of the patient. Recent progress in molecular pathology and normal-tissue radiobiology has improved the mechanistic understanding of late normal-tissue effects and shifted the focus from initial-damage induction to damage recognition and tissue remodelling. This stimulates research into new pharmacological strategies for preventing or reducing the side effects of radiation therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Protection
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects


  • Radiation-Protective Agents