Howell, R. W. and Neti, P. V. S. V. Modeling Multicellular Response to Nonuniform Distributions of Radioactivity: Differences in Cellular Response to Self-Dose and Cross-Dose. Radiat. Res. 163, 216–221 (2005).
Radiopharmaceuticals are distributed nonuniformly in tissue. While distributions of radioactivity often appear uniform at the organ level, in fact, microscopic examination reveals that only a fraction of the cells in tissue are labeled. Labeled cells and unlabeled cells often receive different absorbed doses depending on the extent of the nonuniformity and the characteristics of the emitted radiations. The labeled cells receive an absorbed dose from radioactivity within the cell (self-dose) as well as an absorbed dose from radioactivity in surrounding labeled cells (cross-dose). Unlabeled cells receive only a cross-dose. In recent communications, a multicellular cluster model was used to investigate the lethality of microscopic nonuniform distributions of 131I iododeoxyuridine (131IdU). For a given mean absorbed dose to the tissue, the dose response depended on the percentage of cells that were labeled. Specifically, when 1, 10 and 100% of the cells were labeled, a D37 of 6.4, 5.7 and 4.5 Gy, respectively, was observed. The reason for these differences was recently traced to differences in the cellular response to the self- and cross-doses delivered by 131IdU. Systematic isolation of the effects of self-dose resulted in a D37 of 1.2 ± 0.3 Gy. The cross-dose component yielded a D37 of 6.4 ± 0.5 Gy. In the present work, the overall survival of multicellular clusters containing 1, 10 and 100% labeled cells is modeled using a semi-empirical approach that uses the mean lethal self- and cross-doses and the fraction of cells labeled. There is excellent agreement between the theoretical model and the experimental data when the surviving fraction is greater than 1%. Therefore, when the distribution of 131I in tissue is nonuniform at the microscopic level, and the cellular response to self- and cross-doses differs, multicellular dosimetry can be used successfully to predict biological response, whereas the mean absorbed dose fails in this regard.