Oxygen Effect

The ability of ionizing radiation to cause biologic change is very much dependent on the amount of oxygen present in the tissue environment. Oxygen is the most potent radiosensitizer known at this time. Cells in a 100 percent oxygen environment are 3 times more radiosensitive than cells in complete anoxia. It is the oxygen that reacts with the DNA damage and prevents its repair which ultimately leads to cellular death.

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Figure 21-3. Cell survival curves for differing mitotic stages showing the variation of radiosensitivity.

Figure 21-3. Cell survival curves for differing mitotic stages showing the variation of radiosensitivity.

Table 21-2. CELL CYCLE VARIATION OF RADIOSENSITIVITY

Radiosensitivity Cell Cycle Phase

Most G2, M

Intermediate G1, early S

Least Late S

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