The Stable Nitroxide Tempol Facilitates Salivary Gland Protection during Head and Neck Irradiation in a Mouse Model

Joseph M. Vitolo, Ana P. Cotrim, Anastasia L. Sowers, Angelo Russo, Robert B. Wellner, Stanley R. Pillemer, James B. Mitchell, Bruce J. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


Purpose: Radiotherapy is commonly used to treat a majority of patients with head and neck cancers. The long-term radiation-induced reduction of saliva output significantly contributes to the posttreatment morbidity experienced by these patients. The purpose of this study was to test the ability of the stable-free radical Tempol (4-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-N-oxyl), an established radioprotector, to prevent radiation-induced salivary hypofunction in mice. Experimental Design: The heads of C3H mice were exposed to a range of single radiation doses with or without an i.p. injection of 275 mg/kg Tempol 10 min before treatment. Salivary gland output was assessed 8 weeks postirradiation. Results: Radiation caused a dose-dependent reduction in salivary flow in this model. Tempol treatment alone significantly reduced radiation-induced salivary hypofunction. The combination of Tempol with mouth/nose shielding showed essentially complete radiation protection at 15 Gy and ∼75% protection at 17.5 Gy. Conclusions: This study demonstrates for the first time that significant radioprotection of the salivary glands is possible with Tempol in C3H mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1807-1812
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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