The impact of curative radiotherapy depends mainly on the total dose delivered homogenously in the targeted volume. Nevertheless, the dose delivered to the surrounding healthy tissues may reduce the therapeutic ratio of many radiation treatments. Two different side effects (acute and late) can occur during and after radiotherapy. Of particular interest are the radiation-induced sequelae due to their irreversibility and the potential impact on daily quality of life. In a same population treated in one centre with the same technique, it appears that individual radiosensitivity clearly exists. In the hypothesis that genetic is involved in this area of research, lymphocytes seem to be the tissue of choice due to easy accessibility. Recently, low percentage of CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte apoptosis were shown to be correlated with high grade of sequelae. In addition, recent data suggest that patients with severe radiation-induced late side effects possess four or more single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in candidate genes (ATM, SOD2, TGFB1, XRCC1, and XRCC3) and low radiation-induced CD8 lymphocyte apoptosis in vitro. On-going studies are being analyzing the entire genome using a Genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis.
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