Cell repopulation, rewiring metabolism, and immune regulation in cancer radiotherapy

Jie Huang, Jian Jian Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cancer radiotherapy (RT) demonstrates the benefit of local control with fewer side-effects compared to chemotherapy. To further improve the overall efficacy of RT and RT-combined therapies, studies revealing the mechanisms involved in tumor response to radiation are required. Accumulating new evidence has demonstrated that the microenvironment of solid tumors, such as cancers in lung, breast, and liver, holds a highly heterogenic population of tumor cells, an array of stromal cells with different functions, as well as non-cellular components. The observed tumor responses to cancer radiotherapy are pooled signals generated from the heterogenic cell populations such as the survival of radioresistant tumor cells and the infiltrated immune cells. Thus, further elucidation of key dynamics in irradiated tumor microenvironment (ITME), including repopulation of cancer stem cells, metabolic shifting, and radiation-induced tumor immunogenicity, will be necessary to significantly enhance the outcome of RT or RT-combined immunotherapy. This review summarizes the current experimental and clinical results of these three dynamics in ITME.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalRadiation Medicine and Protection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Cancer stem cells
  • Immune response
  • Metabolism
  • Radiotherapy
  • Tumor microenvironment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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