A key challenge in radiotherapy is to maximize radiation doses to cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. As severe toxicity in a minority of patients limits the doses that can be safely given to the majority, there is interest in developing a test to measure an individual's radiosensitivity before treatment. Variation in sensitivity to radiation is an inherited genetic trait and recent progress in genotyping raises the possibility of genome-wide studies to characterize genetic profiles that predict patient response to radiotherapy.
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The work of the authors is supported by Cancer Research UK, The Royal College of Radiologists, Breast Cancer Campaign, the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, and Experimental Cancer Research Centre funding. G.C.B. is funded by a fellowship from Cancer Research UK and The Royal College of Radiologists. P.D.P.P. is a Cancer Research UK Senior Clinical Research Fellow.
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Barnett, G., West, C., Dunning, A. et al. Normal tissue reactions to radiotherapy: towards tailoring treatment dose by genotype. Nat Rev Cancer 9, 134–142 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrc2587
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