Cellular plasticity upon proton irradiation determines tumor cell radiosensitivity

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Proton radiotherapy has been implemented into the standard-of-care for cancer patients within recent years. However, experimental studies investigating cellular and molecular mechanisms are lacking, and prognostic biomarkers are needed. Cancer stem cell (CSC)-related biomarkers, such as aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), are known to influence cellular radiosensitivity through inactivation of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage repair, and cell death. In a previous study, we found that ionizing radiation itself enriches for ALDH-positive CSCs. In this study, we analyze CSC marker dynamics in prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, and glioblastoma cells upon proton beam irradiation. We find that proton irradiation has a higher potential to target CSCs through induction of complex DNA damages, lower rates of cellular senescence, and minor alteration in histone methylation pattern compared with conventional photon irradiation. Mathematical modeling indicates differences in plasticity rates among ALDH-positive CSCs and ALDH-negative cancer cells between the two irradiation types.


FachzeitschriftCell reports
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 22 Feb. 2022

Externe IDs

unpaywall 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110422
Scopus 85124819689
WOS 000761232200009
Mendeley 545c22df-7bf7-3822-80f1-398da143fbdd
ORCID /0000-0002-5247-908X/work/142241948
ORCID /0000-0002-3549-2477/work/142244874
ORCID /0000-0002-7017-3738/work/142254013


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  • cancer stem cells, cellular plasticity, epigenetics, glioblastoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, prostate cancer, proton irradiation, radiobiology, Therapy, Head, Radioresistance, Identification, Marker, Dehydrogenase, Heterogeneity, Expression, Cancer stem-cells, Epigenetics