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FLASH radiotherapy is a novel technique that has been shown in numerous preclinical in vivo studies to have the potential to be the next important improvement in cancer treatment. However, the biological mechanisms responsible for the selective FLASH sparing effect of normal tissues are not yet known. An optimal translation of FLASH radiotherapy into the clinic would require a good understanding of the specific beam parameters that induces a FLASH effect, environmental conditions affecting the response, and the radiobiological mechanisms involved. Even though the FLASH effect has generally been considered as an in vivo effect, studies finding these answers would be difficult and ethically challenging to carry out solely in animals. Hence, suitable in vitro studies aimed towards finding these answers are needed. In this review, we describe and summarise several in vitro assays that have been used or could be used to finally elucidate the mechanisms behind the FLASH effect.

Original publication




Journal article


Expert Rev Mol Med

Publication Date





Cell models, cells, dose rate, radiation, radiotherapy, ultra-high, Ambulatory Care Facilities, Animals, Humans, Radiation Oncology, Radiobiology, Research Design, Translations