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To the Editor.—My interest in the article by Joseph L. Goldman et al, entitled "Therapy for Cancer of the Laryngopharynx" was specifically with the method of demonstrating cell viability after x-ray therapy using tritiated thymidine. The authors would have us believe that in tissue culture the incorporation of this amino acid into the metabolic structures of the cells indicates that these viable cells can produce cancer.
First of all, this is not necessarily true. Suit, Lindbergh, and Fletcher in numerous articles, and Fletcher in his textbook of radiotherapy, by Lea and Ferbiger (pages 82 to 83), describe radiobiology in detail. It has been shown that despite curative radiotherapy to cancer cells, these cells in tissue culture may divide to several generations indicating full well that they are initially viable despite undergoing x-ray therapy, however, they then at some point stop dividing and thereafter do not produce cancer. I submit
SABERMAN MN. CANCER THERAPY. Arch Otolaryngol. 1971;93(6):638. doi:10.1001/archotol.1971.00770060940019