Enhancing radiosensitivity of melanoma cells through very high dose rate pulses released by a plasma focus device

Francesca Buontempo, Ester Orsini, Isabella Zironi, Lorenzo Isolan, Alessandra Cappellini, Stefania Rapino, Agostino Tartari, Domiziano Mostacci, Giorgio Cucchi, Alberto Maria Martelli, Marco Sumini, Gastone Castellani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Radiation therapy is a useful and standard tumor treatment strategy. Despite recent advances in delivery of ionizing radiation, survival rates for some cancer patients are still low because of recurrence and radioresistance. This is why many novel approaches have been explored to improve radiotherapy outcome. Some strategies are focused on enhancement of accuracy in ionizing radiation delivery and on the generation of greater radiation beams, for example with a higher dose rate. In the present study we proposed an in vitro research of the biological effects of very high dose rate beam on SK-Mel28 and A375, two radioresistant human melanoma cell lines. The beam was delivered by a pulsed plasma device, a “Mather type” Plasma Focus for medical applications. We hypothesized that this pulsed X-rays generator is significantly more effective to impair melanoma cells survival compared to conventional X-ray tube. Very high dose rate treatments were able to reduce clonogenic efficiency of SK-Mel28 and A375 more than the X-ray tube and to induce a greater, less easy-to-repair DNA double-strand breaks. Very little is known about biological consequences of such dose rate. Our characterization is preliminary but is the first step toward future clinical considerations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0199312
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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