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February 22, 1936


JAMA. 1936;106(8):628. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770080042013

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Physicians who are not well versed in radiology often consider radiosensitiveness and radioresistance as absolute expressions. To them a tumor is either sensitive or resistant to irradiation, and intermediate gradations are not recognized. Experienced radiologists use these terms only in a relative sense. Just as different varieties of normal cells vary greatly in sensitiveness to roentgen rays or radium, tumors vary equally in this respect. It has been established that the radiosensitiveness of any tumor corresponds to that of the cells of which it is chiefly composed. The scale of radiosensitiveness of different varieties of neoplasms must, and does in fact, correspond to the degree of sensitiveness of its essential cellular constituents. In other words, the scale of radiosensitiveness of different varieties of tumor corresponds to the scale of sensitiveness of the different varieties of normal cells.

The normal lymphocytes are the most sensitive of all cells to irradiation; tumors

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