Quantifying biological effects of radiation from high-energy linear accelerators on lymphocytes

Gyöngyi Farkas, Zsuzsa S. Kocsis, Gábor Székely, Dalma Mihály, Csilla Pesznyák, Tamás Pócza, Tibor Major, Csaba Polgár, Zsolt Jurányi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this study was to investigate the radiobiological effects of flattening filter (FF) and flattening filter-free (FFF) modes of linear electron accelerators and to understand whether there is any difference between the effects of these modes. We evaluated the number of chromosome aberrations following irradiation of lymphocytes from healthy volunteers with X-ray photons at two energy levels, 6 and 10 MV; the dose rate ranged between 5.50 and 23.08 Gy/min and absorbed doses ranged between 0.5 and 8 Gy. A 60Co curve was employed for comparison. Metaphases from the lymphocyte cultures were prepared using standard cytogenetic techniques and chromosome analysis was performed. Our results allow the performance of biodosimetry at higher energies and doses than the currently used reference dosimetry. We observed significant differences in aberration frequencies when different irradiation techniques were used. FFF mode has a higher radiobiological effect than the FF mode. Linear-quadratic dose response calibration curves were constructed and relative biological effectiveness (RBE) values were calculated. Average RBE values using 6 MV (5.50 Gy/min) as a reference radiation were 1.28 for 60Co γirradiation, 1.11 for 6 FFF and 0.79-0.92 for 10 FFF. Since there are compelling differences between radiation modalities in cases of hypofractionation, these results may be even more important in a therapeutic situation. In case of an accidental overdose of a patient, use of the appropriate calibration curves for biodosimetry are also essential for quantifying the overdose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of radiation research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 2019



  • biological dosimetry
  • dicentric chromosome
  • flattening filter-free mode
  • linear accelerator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Farkas, G., Kocsis, Z. S., Székely, G., Mihály, D., Pesznyák, C., Pócza, T., Major, T., Polgár, C., & Jurányi, Z. (2019). Quantifying biological effects of radiation from high-energy linear accelerators on lymphocytes. Journal of radiation research, 61(1), 73-81. https://doi.org/10.1093/jrr/rrz073