Photon activation of iododeoxyuridine: Biological efficacy of Auger electrons

B. H. Laster, W. C. Thomlinson, R. G. Fairchild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Photon activation therapy is a binary system being investigated as a potential therapeutic modality to improve the treatment of malignancies, particularly the highly lethal and malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. Its success relies upon the incorporation of a target atom in the immediate vicinity of a tumor cell's critical site, followed by the activation of this atom with photons of energies suitable for the induction of the photoelectric effect and its concomitant Auger cascades. The collective action of the Auger electrons imparts high-LET type damage at the critical site. Photon activation therapy uses iodine from stable iododeoxyuridine (IdUrd) as the target atom, and monochromatic photons above the K absorption edge of iodine (33.2 keV) as the activating agent. Although IdUrd is a cell-sensitizing agent, work described was designed to separate the biological efficacy due to sensitization from that of the Auger effect. Chinese hamster V79 cells with and without IdUrd in cellular DNA were irradiated at the X17B1 beam line in the National Synchrotron Light Source of Brookhaven National Laboratory. Monochromatic photons above (33.4 keV) and below (32.9 keV) the K absorption edge were used to determine if any additional biological damage would accrue from the Auger cascades. The 33.4- keV photons were found to be a factor of 1.4 times more effective than 32.9- keV photons in damaging iodinated cells. The sensitizing effect, evaluated separately, was found to be a factor of 2.2 at 10% survival, regardless of photon energy. Thus the total therapeutic gain was 1.4 x 2.2 = 3.1. Irradiations of noniodinated control cells showed no difference in their response to energies above and below the iodine K edge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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