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Volume 18, Number 5, 2013

Single high-dose vs. fractionated radiotherapy: Effects on plant growth rates

Marc Guedea, Antoni Castel, Marc Arnalte, Alex Mollera, Victor Mun˜ oz, Ferran Guedea


Aim: To evaluate the differential effects of fractionated vs. high-dose radiotherapy on plant
Background: Interest in hypofractionated radiotherapy has increased substantially in recent
years as tumours (especially of the lung, prostate, and liver) can be irradiated with ever greater accuracy due to technological improvements. The effects of low-dose ionizing radiation on plant growth have been studied extensively, yet few studies have investigated the effect of high-dose, hypofractionated radiotherapy on plant growth development.
Materials and methods: A total of 150 plants from the genus Capsicum annuum were randomized to receive fractionated radiotherapy (5 doses of 10 Gy each), single high-dose (SHD)
radiotherapy (single 50 Gy dose), or no radiotherapy (control group). Irradiation was delivered
via linear accelerator and all samples were followed daily for 26 days to assess and
compare daily growth.
Results: On day 26, plants in the control, fractionated, and SHD groups had grown to a mean
height of 7.55 cm, 4.32 cm, and 2.94 cm, respectively. These differences in overall growth
were highly significant (P = 0.005). The SHD group showed the least amount of growth.
Conclusions: SHD effectively stunts plant growth and development. Despite the evident differences between plant and animal cells, ionizing radiation is believed to work in a similar
manner in all biological cells. These findings highlight the need to continue investigating
the use of hypofractionated schemes in humans to improve cancer treatment outcomes.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2013; 18(5) : 279-285

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