Zhou, G., Bennett, P. V., Cutter, N. C. and Sutherland, B. M. Proton-HZE-Particle Sequential Dual-Beam Exposures Increase Anchorage-Independent Growth Frequencies in Primary Human Fibroblasts. Radiat. Res. 166, 488–494 (2006).
The radiation field in deep space contains high levels of high-energy protons and substantially lower levels of high-atomic-number, high-energy (HZE) particles. Calculations indicate that cellular nuclei of human space travelers will be hit during a 3-year Mars mission by ∼400 protons and ∼0.4 HZE particles. Thus most cells in astronauts will be hit by a proton(s) before being hit by an HZE particle. To investigate effects of dual ion irradiations on human cells, we irradiated primary human neonatal fibroblasts with protons (1 GeV/nucleon, 20 cGy) followed from 2.5 min to 48 h later by iron or titanium ions (1 GeV/nucleon, 20 cGy) and then measured clonogenic survival and frequency of anchorage-independent growth. This frequency depends on the interval between hydrogen- and iron-ion irradiation, with a critical window between 2.5 min and 1 h producing about three times more anchorage-independent colonies per survivor than expected from simple addition of the two ions separately. The hydrogen-titanium-ion dual-beam irradiation produced similar increases that persisted to ∼6 h. At longer intervals, anchorage-independent growth frequencies were similar to those expected for additivity. However, irradiation of cells with either an iron or a titanium particle first followed by protons produced only additive levels.