Vol 27, No 1 (2022)
Review paper
Published online: 2022-01-20

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Radiobiology of stereotactic radiotherapy

Monica Mangoni1, Simona Borghesi2, Cynthia Aristei3, Carlotta Becherini1
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2022;27(1):57-62.


This paper focuses on the radiobiological mechanisms underlying the effects of stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) which, despite SRT expansion, have not yet been fully elucidated. Some authors postulated that radiobiology principles, as applied to conventional fractionations (5R: reoxygenation, repair, repopulation, redistribution, radioresistence), suffice in themselves to account for the excellent clinical results of SRT; others argued that the role of the 5R was limited. Recent preclinical data showed that hypofractionated ablative treatments altered the microenvironment, thus determining cell death either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, dead tumor cells released quantities of antigens, which stimulated antitumor immunity, thus reducing the risk of relapse and metastasis. Better understanding of the radiobiological mechanisms underlying response to high-dose radiation treatment is essential for predicting its short- and long-term effects on the tumor and surrounding healthy tissues and, consequently, for improving its related therapeutic index.

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