The problem of determining RBE values for Auger emitters incorporated into proliferating mammalian cells is examined. In general, the reference radiation plays a key role in obtaining experimental RBE values. Using survival of cultured Chinese hamster V79 cells as the experimental model, new data are provided regarding selection of a reference radiation for internal Auger emitters. These data show that γ rays delivered acutely (137 Cs) are more than twice as lethal as γ rays delivered chronically with an exponentially decreasing dose rate (99 m Tc). The results confirm that the reference radiation should be delivered chronically in a manner consistent with the extended exposure received by the cells in the case of incorporated radionuclides. Through a direct comparison of the radiotoxicity of Auger emitters and α emitters, the high RBE values reported for DNA-bound Auger emitters are confirmed. These studies reveal that the DNA binding compound$[{}^{125}{\rm I}]\text{iododeoxyuridine}$ (${}^{125}{\rm IdU}$) is about 1.6 times more effective in killing V79 cells than 5.3 MeV α particles from intracellularly localized${}^{210}{\rm Po}\text{-citrate}$. In addition, toxicity studies with the radiochemicals${}^{125}{\rm IdU}$ and$[{}^{125}{\rm I}]\text{iododeoxycytidine}$ (${}^{125}{\rm IdC}$) establish the equivalence of the radiosensitivity of thymine and cytosine base sites in the DNA. In view of these results, and information already available, the question of establishing quality factors for Auger emitters is considered. Finally, a method for calculation of the dose equivalent for internal Auger emitters is advanced.

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