Low-Dose Radiation Therapy for COVID-19: Promises and Pitfalls

Bhanu P. Venkatesulu, Scott Lester, Cheng En Hsieh, Vivek Verma, Elad Sharon, Mansoor Ahmed, Sunil Krishnan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

12 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has exacted an enormous toll on healthcare systems worldwide. The cytokine storm that follows pulmonary infection is causally linked to respiratory compromise and mortality in the majority of patients. The sparsity of viable treatment options for this viral infection and the sequelae of pulmonary complications have fueled the quest for new therapeutic considerations. One such option, the long-forgotten idea of using low-dose radiation therapy, has recently found renewed interest in many academic centers. We outline the scientific and logistical rationale for consideration of this option and the mechanistic underpinnings of any potential therapeutic value, particularly as viewed from an immunological perspective. We also discuss the preliminary and/or published results of prospective trials examining low-dose radiation therapy for COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpkaa103
JournalJNCI Cancer Spectrum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 02 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press.


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