Mixed radiation fields comprise the most common form of radiation exposure. Given their relevance in radiation protection, cancer radiotherapy and space research, accurate predictions of the corresponding radiation effects are essential. The local effect model (LEM) allows the prediction of cell survival after ion irradiation based on the knowledge of the cells' response to photon radiation. The assumption is made that the same spatial DNA double-strand break (DSB) distributions in the cell nucleus lead to the same effects, independent of the radiation quality that produced the DSBs. This makes the LEM an ideal tool for predictions of cell survival after exposure to any mixed radiation field. In this work, the LEM is applied to calculate cell survival for extreme mixed irradiation scenarios, i.e., high-linear energy transfer (LET) ion radiation combined with low-LET photon radiation, which can be understood as a consistency test for the high-LET model. Available experimental data covering several ion species and energies in combination with photon exposure are predicted with the LEM. Furthermore, the results are compared to the microdosimetric model by Zaider and Rossi and the lesion additivity model by Lam, which allow the prediction of cell survival after exposure to mixed radiation fields based on the knowledge of the survival curves of the two radiation components. Although the LEM uses only photon dose-response data as input, it is able to compete with the empirical radiobiological models that additionally require ion dose-response curves as input. Certain experimental scenarios are presented in which the specific consideration of spatial DSB distributions could be essential for an accurate prediction of the effect of mixed radiation fields.
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Vol. 193 • No. 2