Gadolinium is a commonly used contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The goal of this work was to determine how MRI contrast agents affect radiosensitivity for tumour cells. Using a 225kVp X-ray cabinet source, immunofluorescence and clonogenic assays were performed on six cancer cell lines: lung (H460), pancreas (MiaPaCa2), prostate (DU145), breast (MCF7), brain (U87) and liver (HEPG2). Dotarem® contrast agent, at concentrations of 0.2, 2 and 20 mM, was used to determine its effect on DNA damage and cell survival. Measurements were performed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to determine the amount of gadolinium taken up by each cell line for each concentration. A statistically significant increase in DNA damage was seen for all cell lines at a dose of 1 Gy for concentrations of 2 and 20 mM, at 1 h postirradiation. At 24 h postirradiation, most of the DNA damage had been repaired, with approximately 90% repair for almost all doses of radiation and concentrations of Dotarem. Clonogenic results showed no statistically significant decrease in cell survival for any cell line or concentration. Uptake measurements showed cell line-specific variations in uptake, with MCF7 and HEPG2 cells having a high percentage uptake compared to other cell lines, with 151.4 ± 0.3 × 10–15 g and 194.8 ± 0.4 × 10–15 g per cell, respectively, at 2 mM Dotarem concentration. In this work, a variability in gadolinium uptake was observed between cell lines. A significant increase was seen in initial levels of DNA damage after 1 Gy irradiation for all six cancer cell lines; however, no significant decrease in cell survival was seen with the clonogenic assay. The observation of high levels of repair suggest that while initial levels of DNA damage are increased, this damage is almost entirely repaired within 24 h, and does not affect the ability of cells to survive and produce colonies.

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