Pulsed low dose-rate irradiation response in isogenic HNSCC cell lines with different radiosensitivity


  • Vesna Todorovic Institute of Oncology Ljubljana
  • Ajda Prevc
  • Martina Niksic Zakelj
  • Monika Savarin
  • Simon Bucek
  • Blaz Groselj
  • Primoz Strojan
  • Maja Cemazar
  • Gregor Sersa


Background. Management of locoregionally recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) is challenging due to potential radioresistance. Pulsed low-dose rate (PLDR) irradiation exploits phenomena of increased radiosensitivity, low-dose hyperradiosensitivity (LDHRS), and inverse dose-rate effect. The purpose of this study was to evaluate LDHRS and the effect of PLDR irradiation in isogenic HNSCC cells with different radiosensitivity.

Materials and methods. Cell survival after different irradiation regimens in isogenic parental FaDu and radioresistant FaDu-RR cells was determined by clonogenic assay; post irradiation cell cycle distribution was studied by flow cytometry; the expression of DNA damage signalling genes was assesed by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR.

Results. Radioresistant Fadu-RR cells displayed LDHRS and were more sensitive to PLDR irradiation than parental FaDu cells. In both cell lines, cell cycle was arrested in G2/M phase 5 hours after irradiation. It was restored 24 hours after irradiation in parental, but not in the radioresistant cells, which were arrested in G1-phase. DNA damage signalling genes were under-expressed in radioresistant compared to parental cells. Irradiation increased DNA damage signalling gene expression in radioresistant cells, while in parental cells only few genes were under-expressed.

Conclusions. We demonstrated LDHRS in isogenic radioresistant cells, but not in the parental cells. Survival of LDHRS-positive radioresistant cells after PLDR was significantly reduced. This reduction in cell survival is associated with variations in DNA damage signalling gene expression observed in response to PLDR most likely through different regulation of cell cycle checkpoints.

Author Biography

Vesna Todorovic, Institute of Oncology Ljubljana

Department of Experimental Oncology




How to Cite

Todorovic, V., Prevc, A., Niksic Zakelj, M., Savarin, M., Bucek, S., Groselj, B., … Sersa, G. (2020). Pulsed low dose-rate irradiation response in isogenic HNSCC cell lines with different radiosensitivity. Radiology and Oncology, 54(2), 168–179. Retrieved from https://radioloncol.com/index.php/ro/article/view/3415



Experimental oncology