Dosimetry at the sub-cellular scale of Auger-electron emitter 99mTc in a mouse single thyroid follicle.
PURPOSE Based on the authors' previous findings concerning the radiotoxicity of(99m)Tc, the authors compared the cellular survival under the influence of this nuclide with that following exposure to the Auger electron emitter (123)I. To evaluate the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of both radionuclides, knowledge of the absorbed dose is essential. Thus, the authors present the dose calculations and discuss the results based on different models of the radionuclide distribution. Both different target volumes and the influence of the uptake kinetics were considered. METHODS Rat thyroid PC Cl3 cells in culture were incubated with either(99m)Tc or (123)I or were irradiated using 200 kV x-rays in the presence or absence of perchlorate. The clonogenic cell survival was measured via colony formation. In addition, the intracellular radionuclide uptake was quantified. Single-cell dose calculations were based on Monte Carlo simulations performed using Geant4. RESULTS Compared with external radiation using x-rays (D37 = 2.6 Gy), the radionuclides (99m)Tc (D37 = 3.5 Gy), and (123)I (D37 = 3.8 Gy) were less toxic in the presence of perchlorate. In the absence of perchlorate, the amount of activity a37 that was necessary to reduce the surviving fraction (SF) to 0.37 was 22.8 times lower for (99m)Tc and 12.4 times lower for (123)I because of the dose increase caused by intracellular radionuclide accumulation. When the cell nucleus was considered as the target for the dose calculation, the authors found a RBE of 2.18 for (99m)Tc and RBE = 3.43 for (123)I. Meanwhile, regarding the dose to the entire cell, RBE = 0.75 for (99m)Tc and RBE = 1.87 for (123)I. The dose to the entire cell was chosen as the dose criterion because of the intracellular radionuclide accumulation, which was found to occur solely in the cytoplasm. The calculated number of intracellular decays per cell was (975 ± 109) decays/MBq for (99m)Tc and (221 ± 82) decays/MBq for (123)I. CONCLUSIONS The authors' data indicate that extra-nuclear targets to Auger electrons exist, which is obvious from our dose calculations. When considering the dose to the cell nucleus, the authors found an enhanced RBE for(99m)Tc and (123)I relative to acute x-ray irradiation and pure extracellular irradiation with both radionuclides. Surprisingly, the authors did not find any radionuclide accumulation in the cell nucleus, indicating that there are additional radiosensitive targets besides the DNA. In addition, the authors demonstrated the necessity of cellular dose calculations in radiobiological experiments using unsealed radionuclides and identified the relevant parameters.