[1896: How nascent radiotherapy gathered Roentgen, Pasteur and the Lumière brothers]

Cancer Radiother. 2016 Dec;20(8):820-823. doi: 10.1016/j.canrad.2016.07.099. Epub 2016 Oct 21.
[Article in French]


On the 4th July, 1896, in his medical office of Les Échelles (Savoie, France), Victor Despeignes performed the very first radiotherapy against cancer, documented by indisputable proofs. However, the intellectual and practical approach that leads to this first radiotherapy may appear unexpected to date. Indeed, it is likely that the treatment that Despeignes applied to his neighbour, who did not suffer from stomach cancer, was born with the indirect support of the Lumière brothers, on the basis of a biological theory (the parasitory theory of cancer) that is irrelevant today, with an experimental protocol based on experiments performed on tuberculosis et in a bifractionated model linked by the constraints of a district medical doctor.

Keywords: Histoire; History; Radiobiologie; Radiobiology; Radiotherapy; Radiothérapie; Victor Despeignes.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Cathode Ray Tube / history
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • France
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Inventions / history
  • Models, Biological
  • Motion Pictures / history
  • Radiobiology / history
  • Radiotherapy / history*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / history
  • Stomach Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Tuberculosis / history
  • Tuberculosis / radiotherapy

Personal name as subject

  • Victor Despeignes