Tsuruoka, C., Suzuki, M., Kanai, T. and Fujitaka, K. LET and Ion Species Dependence for Cell Killing in Normal Human Skin Fibroblasts. Radiat. Res. 163, 494–500 (2005).
We studied the LET and ion species dependence of the RBE for cell killing to clarify the differences in the biological effects caused by the differences in the track structure that result from the different energy depositions for different ions. Normal human skin fibroblasts were irradiated with heavy-ion beams such as carbon, neon, silicon and iron ions that were generated by the Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator in Chiba (HIMAC) at the National Institute of Radiological Science (NIRS) in Japan. Cell killing was measured as reproductive cell death using a colony formation assay. The RBE-LET curves were different for carbon ions and for the other ions. The curve for carbon ions increased steeply up to around 98 keV/μm. The RBE of carbon ions at 98 keV/μm was 4.07. In contrast, the curves for neon, silicon and iron ions had maximum peaks around 180 keV/μm, and the RBEs at the peak position ranged from 3.03 to 3.39. When the RBEs were plotted as a function of Z*2/β2 (where Z* is the effective charge and β is the relative velocity of the ion) instead of LET, the discrepancies between the RBE-LET curves for the different ion beams were reduced, but branching of the RBE-Z*2/β2 curves still remained. When the inactivation cross section was plotted as a function of either LET or Z*2/β2, it increased with increasing LET. However, the inactivation cross section was always smaller than the geometrical cross section. These results suggest that the differences in the energy deposition track structures of the different ion sources have an effect on cell killing.