Radiosensitivity syndromes and diseases

Radiation Oncology

Head of Department:
Prof. Dr. med. Rainer Fietkau

Individual radiosensitivity during radiation therapy

Increased individual radiosensitivity, which leads to an undesirable therapy consequence during radiotherapy, has become very rare due to the modern, precise radiotherapy procedures. The reason for this is that the precise, modern radiotherapies have less and less normal tissue in the high dose range, and thus the risk for adverse therapy consequences is low. However, an existing risk is that patients have such an increased sensitivity to radiation that, despite the precise irradiation, the likelihood of an adverse therapeutic consequence occurring increases greatly. For these patients, it is important that they are identified and their radiosensitivity is determined in advance.

Certain underlying diseases are associated with such increased radiosensitivity. This may be different for different pre-existing conditions and may vary in severity between different patients.
The aim of listing various information on radiosensitivity measurements and clinical case reports from the literature for different pre-existing conditions on the website of the Erlangen-Nuremberg Radiation Clinic is not to reliably predict the radiosensitivity for a patient with a specific pre-existing condition or even to decide on the basis of this whether radiotherapy is suitable or not.
Rather, the aim is to be able to better assess the risk of increased radiosensitivity of a patient with a specific previous disease and the usefulness of testing for individual radiosensitivity, the implementation capacities of which are currently very limited.
If such increased individual radiosensitivity is found in a patient, it is not an absolute contraindication to radiotherapy.
Instead, the indication for radiotherapy should be carefully assessed and, if necessary, the daily and total radiation dose of the intended radiotherapy should be adjusted according to the radiosensitivity.

We are very interested in case reports of individual patients with a known reason for the increased effect of radiation and would be happy to receive them. Similarly, we are very interested in references to publications with relevant data on increased radiosensitivity. Please share them with us, email



Working group individual radiation sensitivity