Tumor aggressiveness is independent of radiation quality in murine hepatocellular carcinoma and mammary tumor models

Eshwar B. Udho, Shane M. Huebner, Dawn M. Albrecht, Kristina A. Matkowskyj, Linda Clipson, Catigan A. Hedican, Rachel Koth, Santina M. Snow, Emily L. Eberhardt, Devon Miller, Rachel Van Doorn, Genti Gjyzeli, Erin K. Spengler, Douglas R. Storts, Douglas H. Thamm, Elijah F. Edmondson, Michael M. Weil, Richard B. Halberg, Jeffery W. Bacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Estimating cancer risk associated with interplanetary space travel is complicated. Human exposure data to high atomic number, high-energy (HZE) radiation is lacking, so data from low linear energy transfer (low-LET) γ-ray radiation is used in risk models, with the assumption that HZE and γ-ray radiation have comparable biological effects. This assumption has been challenged by reports indicating that HZE radiation might produce more aggressive tumors. The goal of this research is to test whether high-LET HZE radiation induced tumors are more aggressive. Materials and methods: Murine models of mammary and liver cancer were used to compare the impact of exposure to 0.2Gy of 300MeV/n silicon ions, 3 Gy of γ-rays or no radiation. Numerous measures of tumor aggressiveness were assessed. Results: For the mammary cancer models, there was no significant change in the tumor latency or metastasis in silicon-irradiated mice compared to controls. For the liver cancer models, we observed an increase in tumor incidence but not tumor aggressiveness in irradiated mice. Conclusion: Tumors in the HZE-irradiated mice were not more aggressive than those arising from exposure to low-LET γ-rays or spontaneously. Thus, enhanced aggressiveness does not appear to be a uniform characteristic of all tumors in HZE-irradiated animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1140-1151
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Mammary cancer
  • biomarker discovery
  • liver cancer
  • metastasis
  • mouse model
  • radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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