Comparison of cellular lethality in DNA repair-proficient or -deficient cell lines resulting from exposure to 70 MeV/n protons or 290 MeV/n carbon ions

Stefan C Genet, Junko Maeda, Hiroshi Fujisawa, Charles R Yurkon, Yoshihiro Fujii, Ashley M Romero, Paula C Genik, Akira Fujimori, Hisashi Kitamura, Takamitsu A Kato
Oncology Reports 2012, 28 (5): 1591-6
Charged particle therapy utilizing protons or carbon ions has been rapidly intensifying over recent years. The present study was designed to jointly investigate these two charged particle treatment modalities with respect to modeled anatomical depth-dependent dose and linear energy transfer (LET) deliveries to cells with either normal or compromised DNA repair phenotypes. We compared cellular lethality in response to dose, LET and Bragg peak location for accelerated protons and carbon ions at 70 and 290 MeV/n, respectively. A novel experimental live cell irradiation OptiCell™ in vitro culture system using three different Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells as a mammalian model was conducted. A wild-type DNA repair-competent CHO cell line (CHO 10B2) was compared to two other CHO cell lines (51D1 and xrs5), each genetically deficient with respect to one of the two major DNA repair pathways (homologous recombination and non-homologous end joining pathways, respectively) following genotoxic insults. We found that wild-type and homologous recombination-deficient (Rad51D) cellular lethality was dependent on both the dose and LET of the carbon ions, whereas it was only dependent on dose for protons. The non-homologous end joining deficient cell line (Ku80 mutant) showed nearly identical dose-response profiles for both carbon ions and protons. Our results show that the increasingly used modality of carbon ions as charged particle therapy is advantageous to protons in a radiotherapeutic context, primarily for tumor cells proficient in non-homologous end joining DNA repair where cellular lethality is dependent not only on the dose as in the case of more common photon therapeutic modalities, but more importantly on the carbon ion LETs. Genetic characterization of patient tumors would be key to individualize and optimize the selection of radiation modality, clinical outcome and treatment cost.

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