Radiation biology and oncology in the genomic era

Sarah L. Kerns, Kuang Hsiang Chuang, William Hall, Zachary Werner, Yuhchyau Chen, Harry Ostrer, Catharine West, Barry Rosenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Radiobiology research is building the foundation for applying genomics in precision radiation oncology. Advances in high-throughput approaches will underpin increased understanding of radiosensitivity and the development of future predictive assays for clinical application. There is an established contribution of genetics as a risk factor for radiotherapy side effects. An individual's radiosensitivity is an inherited polygenic trait with an architecture that includes rare mutations in a few genes that confer large effects and common variants in many genes with small effects. Current thinking is that some will be tissue specific, and future tests will be tailored to the normal tissues at risk. The relationship between normal and tumor cell radiosensitivity is poorly understood. Data are emerging suggesting interplay between germline genetic variation and epigenetic modification with growing evidence that changes in DNA methylation regulate the radiosensitivity of cancer cells and histone acetyltransferase inhibitors have radiosensitizing effects. Changes in histone methylation can also impair DNA damage response signaling and alter radiosensitivity. An important effort to advance radiobiology in the genomic era was establishment of the Radiogenomics Consortium to enable the creation of the large radiotherapy cohorts required to exploit advances in genomics. To address challenges in harmonizing data from multiple cohorts, the consortium established the REQUITE project to collect standardized data and genotyping for ∼5,000 patients. The collection of detailed dosimetric data is important to produce validated multivariable models. Continued efforts will identify new genes that impact on radiosensitivity to generate new knowledge on toxicity patho-genesis and tests to incorporate into the clinical decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20170949
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1091
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Radiation biology and oncology in the genomic era'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this