Radiation-induced bystander signalling in cancer therapy

Nat Rev Cancer. 2009 May;9(5):351-60. doi: 10.1038/nrc2603. Epub 2009 Apr 20.


Our understanding of how radiation kills normal and tumour cells has been based on an intimate knowledge of the direct induction of DNA damage and its cellular consequences. What has become clear is that, as well as responses to direct DNA damage, cell-cell signalling -- known as the bystander effect -- mediated through gap junctions and inflammatory responses may have an important role in the response of cells and tissues to radiation exposure and also chemotherapy agents. This Review outlines the key aspects of radiation-induced intercellular signalling and assesses its relevance for existing and future radiation-based therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bystander Effect / radiation effects*
  • Cell Communication
  • DNA Damage
  • Gap Junctions / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated
  • Signal Transduction / radiation effects*