Radiosensitivity testing of primary cervical carcinoma: evaluation of intra- and inter-tumour heterogeneity

Radiother Oncol. 1990 Aug;18(4):349-56. doi: 10.1016/0167-8140(90)90115-d.


Biopsies from 89 patients with cervical carcinoma were studied using a clonogenic assay to obtain values for the surviving fraction at 2 Gy (SF2). Heterogeneity in intrinsic radiosensitivity was investigated by independently processing multiple biopsies from 18 tumors. No significant differences between intra-tumour SF2 values were demonstrated (p = 0.30). The results have shown that intra-tumour heterogeneity is not a limitation to radiosensitivity testing using the Courtenay-Mills assay. A wide range of values (0.13-0.97) for SF2 was obtained with a mean value of 0.47 +/- 0.18 (+/- 1 S.D., CV = 38%) for 52 squamous cell carcinomas and 0.59 +/- 0.27 for four adenocarcinomas. There were statistically significant differences between the individual tumours (p less than 0.001). From the analysis-of-variance of all the SF2 results it appears to be the surviving fractions below about 0.40 and those above about 0.7 which show significant differences in radiosensitivity between pairs of tumours (p = 0.05). Also 36% of the values of SF2 show significant differences from the mean SF2 of all tumours. The storage of tumour cell suspensions in liquid nitrogen improved the colony-forming efficiency (CFE) but it did not alter the radiosensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Radiation Tolerance*
  • Tumor Stem Cell Assay*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy*