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Radiosensitizer

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Radiosensitizer

A radiosensitizer is a drug that makes tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy.

One of the major limitations of radiotherapy is that the cells of solid tumors become deficient in oxygen. Solid tumors can outgrow their blood supply, causing a low-oxygen state known as hypoxia. Oxygen is a potent radiosensitizer, increasing the effectiveness of a given dose of radiation by forming DNA-damaging free radicals. Tumor cells in a hypoxic environment may be as much as 2 to 3 times more resistant to radiation damage than those in a normal oxygen environment.[1] Much research has been devoted to overcoming this problem including the use of high pressure oxygen tanks, blood substitutes that carry increased oxygen, hypoxic cell radiosensitizers such as misonidazole and metronidazole, and hypoxic cytotoxins, such as tirapazamine. A newer approach involves the use of an oxygen diffusion-enhancing compound to re-oxygenate hypoxic tumor tissue.[2] One such compound, trans sodium crocetinate, is currently being tested in a multi-center clinical trial in 59 patients newly diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme.[3]

References

 This article incorporates "Dictionary of Cancer Terms".

External links

  • Radiosensitizer entry in the public domain NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


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