To determine whether the width of the shoulder and the size of the bystander effect are correlated using clonal lineages derived from a cultured cell line.
HCT 116 (p53 wildtype) cells were grown at cloning density and individual viable colonies were picked off and grown to establish a series of cell lines from both unirradiated and irradiated progenitors. These cell lines were then irradiated to generate full survival curves. Highly variant clones were then tested to determine the level of the bystander effect using a medium transfer protocol.
The multi-target model gave the best fit in these experiments and size of the shoulder n is assessed in terms of radiosensitivity. The parent cell line has an n value of 1.1 while the most variant clones have n values of 0.88 (Clone G) and 5.5 (Clone A). Clonal lines subject to irradiation prior to isolation differed in bystander signal strength in comparison to clonal lines which were not initially irradiated ( P = .055).
Based on these experiments we suggest there may be a link between shoulder size of a mammalian cell line and the strength of a bystander effect produced in vitro. This may have implications for radiotherapy related to out-of-field effects.